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Boko Haram attacks kill at least 80 in Nigeria

Attacks carried out by Islamist extremist group Boko Haram in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri and a nearby town have killed at least 80 people.

Dozens of critically wounded — mainly children and women — may not survive, says nurse

Victims of a Boko Haram attack wait for treatment at a hospital in Maiduguri. At least 80 people were killed in attacks overnight Sunday and early Monday in Nigeria. (Jossy Ola/Associated Press)

At least 80 people have been killed in attacks by Boko Haram Islamic extremists in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri and the nearby town of Madagali.​

Boko Haram struck the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri for the first time in months overnight Sunday with rocket-propelled grenades and multiple suicide bombers, witnesses said. At least 50 people there were killed and the death toll could go higher.

Another twin suicide bombing on Monday killed at least 30 people in Madagali, a town 150 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri, witnesses said.

Attacks in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri and the town of Madagali have killed at least 80 people and injured more than 100. (CBC)

Danladi Buba said two women blew themselves up at a market near a busy bus station at about 9 a.m. Monday Brig.-Gen. Victor Ezugwu, the officer commanding in northeast Adamawa State, confirmed the attack but said casualties have yet to be established.

In Maiduguri, capital of neighbouring Borno state, at least 30 were killed and more than 90 wounded in overnight blasts and shootouts, and another 20 died in a bombing outside a mosque at dawn Monday, said Muhammed Kanar, area co-ordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency.

The military said there were multiple attacks at four southwestern entry points to the city.

In another blast, two girls blew themselves up in the Buraburin neighbourhood, killing several people, according to civil servant Yunusa Abdullahi.

"We are under siege," Abdullahi said. "We don't know how many of these bombs or these female suicide bombers were sneaked into Maiduguri last night." He said some residents have found undetonated bombs.

Soft targets

The attack appears to be a challenge to President Muhammadu Buhari's declaration last week that Boko Haram has been "technically" defeated, capable of no more than suicide bombings on soft targets.

Acting on information provided by a captured insurgent, Nigerian troops "intercepted and destroyed" 13 suicide bombers and arrested one female suicide bomber in repelling the attackers, Maj.-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, the commander prosecuting Nigeria's war against Boko Haram, told reporters.

Maiduguri, the city under attack, is the birthplace of Boko Haram, which emerged as a much more radical entity after Nigerian security forces launched an all-out assault on their compound in the city, killing 700 people in 2009.

A victim of a Boko Haram attack receives treatment at a hospital in Maiduguri. (Jossy Ola/Associated Press)

Militants firing indiscriminately from the back of three trucks attacked the outlying village of Dawari, soldiers engaged them, and as people were fleeing, a woman ran into the area yelling "Boko Haram, Boko Haram." When people gathered, she detonated herself, according to village head Bulama Isa.

A rocket-propelled grenade then exploded, setting alight grass-thatched huts, and a second woman blew herself up, according to Isa. Among those killed was the village chief and 10 of his children, according to residents Ahmed Bala and Umar Ibrahim.

A soldier said the insurgents fired rocket-propelled grenades into four residential areas on the outskirts of the city. Soldiers fired back, and many civilians were caught in the crossfire, according to the soldier, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to journalists.

Three suicide bombers blew themselves up at a home near Bakassi Estate, killing 18 people Sunday evening, another soldier told The Associated Press.

Infant killed, children critically wounded

A nurse at Maiduguri Specialist Hospital said dozens of critically wounded, mainly children and women, may not survive. A doctor at the hospital later said four of the wounded have died and the number of injured has risen to about 100. Like the nurse, he spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to reporters.

The nurse said the hospital was so overflowing with patients that some had to be cared for in the maternity ward. About 60 people had wounds from bullets and shrapnel from explosive devices, she said. Other wounded people had to be sent to other hospitals in the city.

Among them was a baby found dead, still tied to the back of her mother, who survived after being hit by shrapnel, the nurse said.

It was hard to do a body count because so many had been blown into pieces, she said, describing torsos and dismembered arms and legs.

Maiduguri, a city of about one million people, now hosts almost as many refugees, among 2.5 million people driven from their homes in the six-year-old Islamic uprising. About 20,000 people have been killed in Nigeria and hundreds others elsewhere as the insurgents have carried their conflict across its borders into Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

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