December 21, 2014
Bomb kills 20 in Nigeria market, girls' abduction suspect held
The blast from the vehicle bomb wrecked cars and taxis that were unloading passengers and wares on a road adjoining the market in the Borno state capital of Maiduguri.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast. But in recent months, the Islamist group Boko Haram has embarrassed President Goodluck Jonathan's government with a spate of bombings and spectacular raids, mostly in northeast Nigeria, including the mid-April abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls.
The military said earlier today that it had arrested a number of suspected Boko Haram collaborators including a Maiduguri businessman it said was involved in the abduction of the schoolgirls.
Boko Haram has also struck at Abuja, the capital of Africa's biggest economy, with three bombings in three months.
Nigeria's defence headquarters said in a statement on its Twitter account that "a van loaded with charcoal and IED exploded" in Maiduguri's Monday Market today. IED means an improvised explosive device.
Musa Sumail, a local human rights activist in Maiduguri who reports on the violence there, told Reuters he counted 20 bodies at the scene of the market explosion.
"Many people died, mostly drivers of taxis that were packed near the roundabout," a witness, trader Modu Ba'ana, said.
A separate explosion at a busy intersection in the north Nigerian city of Kaduna today evening around 8:30 pm (1930 GMT) wounded two people but caused no deaths, police said.
Nigeria's military said in a statement that the businessman it had arrested had helped the Islamist militant group plan several attacks, including the killing of a traditional ruler, the Emir of Gwoza.
Two women were also arrested, one of whom was accused of coordinating payments to other "operatives".