MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - A suicide bomber in a bus killed one member of Nigeria’s civilian joint task force (JTF) at the main checkpoint on the outskirts of the northeastern city of Maiduguri on Monday, military and JTF sources said.
There was no immediate claim for the attack but it bore the hallmarks of Islamist militant group Boko Haram. Maiduguri, the state capital of Borno, is the birthplace of the jihadi sect.
A JTF member at the scene said that after passengers had left the bus, the driver drove forward to another inspection point at the Njimtilo checkpoint in the southwest of the city where he detonated the bomb. Three civilians were injured.
Since President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration at the end of May, there has been a sharp rise in the number of raids and bombings across the country, especially in Borno. Attacks in neighboring Chad, including on the capital N’Djamena, have also been on the rise.
Buhari and his regional allies are setting up the headquarters of a multinational joint task force in Chad’s capital dedicated to dealing with the six-year old insurgency. Chadian troops played a major role in pushing the group out of key Nigerian towns earlier this year.
According to monitoring by the SITE Intelligence Group, Boko Haram claimed responsibility on a Twitter feed for suicide bombings on the police headquarters in Chad’s capital in June and a recent such attack in Maiduguri.
Earlier this year, it pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, which controls territory in Syria and Iraq and is extending its influence in North Africa and Yemen.
Writing by Julia Payne; editing by Ralph Boulton; Editing by Ralph Boulton