KANO, Nigeria (REUTERS, AFP) - A suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber killed at least six people on Tuesday at a cattle market in the rural town of Garkida, in Nigeria’s northeastern Adamawa state, police said.
Witnesses put the figure higher, saying up to 10 had been killed in the busy market when the blast stuck at about 1.15pm (8.15pm Singapore time).
“The suicide bomber killed six people in Garkida market,” said Osman Abubakar, a spokesman for Adamawa police.
Thousands have been killed in Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency that at its height saw the militant Islamists control an area the size of Belgium, but the group has been pushed from most of the territory it controlled in the past few weeks.
"We don’t know the identity of the assailant but it’s obvious it’s the work of Boko Haram insurgents,” said state assembly lawmaker Jerry Kundusi.
Adamawa is one of three northeastern states where the government imposed emergency measures for 18 months from May 2013 because of the Boko Haram insurgency.
But the country’s military declared the state “cleared” in March as part of a four-nation fightback against the militants launched the previous month.
Garkida is some 165km north of the state capital, Yola, and near the state border with Borno, which has been worst affected by the six years of violence.
Kundusi said: “Nine people died in the attack (including the bomber) and 14 others had to be rushed to hospital.
“It was a lone bomber who blew himself up just outside the livestock market.”
Witness Abdullah Musa said he was at home nearby when he heard what he described as “a huge blast”.
“When I rushed out I realised that it was an attack just outside the livestock market. Many people were injured and at least nine others were killed (including the bomber).”
Security analysts have said that Boko Haram would likely revert to guerilla tactics against “soft” civilian targets as it is pushed out of captured towns and territory by the military offensive.
On Saturday, a suicide blast at a bus station in the capital of Yobe state, Damaturu, killed seven and injured 31.
At least 55 were killed last week in two separate attacks on villages near the state capital of Borno, Maiduguri, underlining the continuing threat posed by the group in the restive region.