By Ibidapo Balogun with agency reports
Boko Haram Islamists seem to be fighting back as five explosions hit Maiduguri on Saturday in the worst attacks there since suspected insurgents tried to seize it in January.
There was no immediate official word on casualties but a report on Channels Television said at least 58 persons died and 143 were injured in the attacks.
The Directorate of Defence Headquarters said on its twitter handle last night that it would avenge the death. It confirmed that three explosions hit the city
A hospital source told Reuters that dozens had been killed in the separate explosions and witnesses saw bodies being taken away from different blast sites.
A tricycle rider with a bomb tried to enter a fish market on the Baga road in the west of Maiduguri. The bomb exploded when the tricycle was prevented from going in, Mohammad Ajia, a trader in Baga market, said after fleeing the scene.
A second blast then hit an area known as the Monday market before a car bomb exploded by a bus station near a Department of State Security (DSS) office, according to a civilian member of a joint task force.
“Men from the anti-bomb squad came a few minutes after the blast to comb the scene, then they started evacuating victims. I saw five mangled bodies being put in vehicles,” Aliyu Musa, a resident in the area near the DSS office, said.
Near the Monday market, casualties were loaded onto waiting ambulances.
“I have counted five ambulances that have evacuated victims from the scene. Soldiers are shooting in the air and warding off people at the market,” Salisu Yaya, a member of a civilian task force, told Reuters from the Monday market area.
Maiduguri is the capital of Borno state, the heartland for the militant Islamist group Boko Haram which has long coveted the city as the capital of an Islamic state they want to carve out of religiously mixed Nigeria.
Suspected Boko Haram militants tried to seize the city at the end of January but were repelled in fighting that killed more than 100 people.