No fewer than 11 people were feared killed in an early morning suicide bomb attack at Gamboru, in Gamboru-Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State.
The incident occurred at about 5am, when a teenage male suicide bomber reportedly detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) strapped to his body in a mosque at Gamboru.
Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Rogers Nicholas, who confirmed the attack in Maiduguri, however, said five persons were killed.
He added that troops had also neutralised a suicide bomber at Rann, headquarters of Kala-Balge Local Government Area.
But, Umar Kachalla, a civilian militiaman, insisted that “14 bodies have been pulled out of the rubble. The mosque had been completely destroyed. Only the muezzin survived and we believe more bodies are buried under the debris. The death toll may likely rise.”
However, a resident of Gamboru, Lawan Abba, insisted that 10 persons were killed while six others sustained injuries.
Abba disclosed that the suicide bomber sneaked into a crowded mosque while people gathered to observe morning prayer and detonated the explosive. He revealed that the teenage suicide bomber hailed from Gamboru town, and that the assailant’s father was among the 10 persons killed.
He added that the wounded persons were referred to the clinic in the Internally Displaced Persons camp.
An hour earlier, a patrol of vigilantes spotted four suspected suicide bombers on the outskirts of the town and arrested one of them after a chase, said, Shehu Mada.
“Two of them turned back and fled while the fourth disappeared into the darkness and we believe it was he who attacked the mosque,” Mada said
The attack comes after the army imposed a temporary curfew to track down Boko Haram insurgents who are suspected to have infiltrated Maiduguri, the state capital.
In August 2014, the group seized Gamboru, a trading hub along with neighbouring town of Ngala. Nigerian troops retook both towns in September 2015 with the help of Chadian forces following months-long offensives. Despite the recapture of the area, Boko Haram fighters continue to launch sporadic attacks, laying ambush on troops and vehicles as well as attacking and abducting farmers.
On Tuesday, the insurgents were said to have killed 25 firewood sellers. Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, appeared in a video on Wednesday, where he took responsibility for series of attacks in and around the state in the past months.
In his New Year message, President Muhammadu Buhari insisted, “Boko Haram remains beaten.”