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Twin bomb blasts kill dozens in central Nigerian city of Jos

Houses burnt by Boko Haram fighters near Maiduguri, in northeast Nigeria, on July 4, 2015
Houses burnt by Boko Haram fighters near Maiduguri, in northeast Nigeria, on July 4, 2015 AFP

Dozens of people were killed in twin bomb blasts in the central Nigerian city of Jos on Monday as the United States vowed to support the fight against the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

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Nigeria's main relief agency said it had counted 44 dead bodies following what appeared to be coordinated attacks. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) announced another 47 people were injured in the blasts.

Earlier, police in Plateau state, of which Jos is the capital, said at least 18 people had lost their lives in Sunday night's attacks at a shopping complex and near a popular mosque.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks but religiously divided Jos has been targeted before by Boko Haram militants.

Plateau, which falls on the dividing line between Nigeria's mainly Christian south and mostly Muslim north, has also suffered waves of sectarian violence responsible for thousands of deaths over the last decade.

Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks in northern Nigeria since the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, with a wave of raids, explosions and suicide bombings.

On Sunday, a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a church in the city of Potiskum, in Yobe state, northeast Nigeria, killing five worshippers.

Islamist militants fighters have also raided mosques, killing more than 150 worshippers around the Lake Chad area as they prayed last week.

‘Nigerians deserve peace’

The United States strongly condemned the attacks in northeastern Nigeria by Boko Haram over the weekend, offering condolences to the families of the victims and pledging to pursue those responsible.

“We will continue to support Nigeria’s efforts to bring those responsible for these attacks, as well as previous attacks, to justice,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

Boko Haram appears keen to prove they are not a spent force despite a four-nation military offensive running them out of several towns and villages they had controlled.

“As we have said before, the people of northern Nigeria deserve to live free from violence and from terror,” Kirby said.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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