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Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

© Victor Ulasi, AFP | Kaduna, Nigeria

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-23

At least 82 people were killed on Wednesday in two bombings in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna targeting an opposition leader and a moderate Muslim cleric.

The first blast, which killed at least 32 people, occurred after a bomb was tossed off of the back of a motorcycle at Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, a prominent Muslim cleric in Nigeria. The explosion scattered debris and dead bodies along the Alkali Road in central Kaduna, but missed Bauchi.

Shortly afterwards, a second, deadlier blast went off in the city’s bustling Kawo market. Nigerian officials said the target was Muhammadu Bahari, a prominent opposition leader and former president.

A Red Cross official said at least 50 people were killed in the second blast. Buhari, who challenged President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 election, was riding in an armour-plated sports utility vehicle and was not wounded.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility, but Islamist militant group Boko Haram has been staging attacks, especially with explosives, outside its northeastern heartlands over the past three months.

The group, which is fighting to carve out an Islamic state in Nigeria, has repeatedly targeted civilians this year, mostly in remote northeastern Borno state. It killed more than 2,000 civilians during the first half of this year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) estimated a week ago.

The Islamists sacked the northeast town of Damboa and surrounding villages over the weekend, killing at least 50 people.

The five-year-old insurgency has been in the international spotlight since Boko Haram fighters kidnapped more than 200 girls from a school in the northeastern village of Chibok on April 14th. President Goodluck Jonathan met parents of the abducted girls for the first time on Tuesday.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-07-23

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