BAUCHI (Reuters) - Bombs found at an abandoned stronghold of Boko Haram Islamists exploded, killing at least 13 people and injuring 45 others in northeast Nigeria, locals and a hospital source said.
At least two of the devices went off as people were taking them past a market to be defused at a military base on Tuesday afternoon, locals told Reuters.
The explosives were found in a bag on the side of a road outside the town of Monguno in Borno state, the epicenter of Boko Haram’s six-year battle to carve out an Islamist state in Africa’s largest oil producer.
“The bombs killed 10 of our members and three other persons nearby,” Umar Zannah, a member of a local militia force set up to defend the town, said.
“We have commenced treatment of the 45 people who were injured from the blast,” added a doctor at Borno Specialist Hospital who did not want to be named.
Boko Haram, which has killed thousands and forced around 1.5 million people to flee, had occupied Monguno in January but was pushed out of the town by a military offensive in March.
Soldiers from neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon have helped Nigeria’s army retake territory - at its height Boko Haram controlled an area about the size of Belgium.
In neighboring Chad, the government blamed Boko Haram for two attacks in the capital N‘Djamena on Monday which killed 27 people, including four suspected fighters from the Islamist group.
It came just days after Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari convened a summit in Abuja to set up a regional task force to fight Boko Haram.
Reporting by Lanre Ola; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Andrew Heavens