YOLA, Nigeria — Dozens of people were feared dead following an explosion on Sunday evening in northeastern Nigeria, with Boko Haram militants believed to be behind the attack, officials said.
The attack took place near a primary school where there are also a number of beer halls in the town of Mubi in Adamawa state, one of the three states under a year-old emergency rule imposed by President Goodluck Jonathan to fight Boko Haram, which seeks to impose Islamic rule in Nigeria.
Othman Abubakar, a spokesman for the Adamawa state police, confirmed the explosion but he couldn’t say how many people had been killed or injured.
David Dauda, who witnessed the blast, said he saw at least 30 bodies following the explosion.
“The blast occurred shortly after people are dispersing from a football playing ground. People gathered there to watch a football competition and just few minutes after soldiers patrol vehicle left the place then we heard a blast,” Dauda said.
The explosion occurred at around 6:45 p.m. local time when many people were headed home to make a 7:00 p.m. curfew imposed in the wake of earlier attacks.
Nigeria’s northeastern region has suffered five years of increasingly deadly assaults by Boko Haram, whose fighters have targeted towns and villages in a string of bomb and gun attacks.
At least 2,000 civilians have been killed in such attacks this year alone.
Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for kidnapping more than 300 schoolgirls in the town of Chibok on April 15. Fifty seven girls are believed to have escaped, which leaves an estimated 272 still held captive.
In another attack Sunday evening, also in Adamawa state, suspected Boko Haram members opened fire at people indiscriminately around the town of Madagali, according to witnesses.
Details of possible casualties were not immediately available.