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At least 18 killed in suspected suicide attacks in Nigeria

by editor

At least 18 people have been killed and 30 injured in a series of deadly blasts in Nigeria thought to have been carried out by female suicide bombers.

One of the bombings is reported to have killed six people and injured others at a wedding ceremony on Saturday, in the northeastern Borno state.

The state’s emergency management agency said the co-ordinated attacks targeted a wedding, the victims’ subsequent funeral and a hospital in the town of Gwoza.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the Nigeria-centred Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) insurgents have previously claimed deadly bombings in Borno.

In the last four months, attackers have twice targeted people through suicide and improvised explosive devices in Borno state.

Borno state has been at the centre of a 15-year insurgency by Boko Haram Islamist militants, which has displaced more than two million people and killed more than 40,000.

Boko Haram gained international notoriety in 2014 when it kidnapped more than 270 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok, also in Borno state.

Authorities said 18 deaths had been confirmed on Saturday, a toll that included children, adults and pregnant women.

Some local media have reported a much higher toll – Nigeria’s Vanguard and This Day newspapers said at least 30 had been killed in the blasts.

A curfew has been imposed by the military.

Gwoza was seized by Boko Haram in 2014, and taken back by the Nigerian forces in 2015 – but the group has since continued to carry out attacks and kidnappings near the town.

Last November, 20 people were killed by Boko Haram insurgents while returning from a funeral service in neighbouring Yobe state.

The attack happened a day after militants killed 17 people in a raid on Gurokayeya village, after villagers refused to pay a so-called harvest tax, police said.

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