Nigeria's Boko Haram crisis: Eid prayer blasts hit Damaturu

Map of Nigeria, showing Damaturu and Maiduguri

At least nine people have died in explosions at prayers for the Muslim festival of Eid in the Nigerian town of Damaturu, the army says.

The two female suicide bombers included a 10-year-old girl, said Nigerian army spokesman Col Sani Usman.

There were two blasts at a venue where volunteers were waiting to screen worshippers, he said.

No group has said it carried the attack but Boko Haram has recently stepped up its campaign of violence.

They have been forced out of most areas they had seized but have increased their attacks since President Muhammudu Buhari took office in May.

Some 300 people have been killed this month.

The explosions were at an open-air praying area, known as Eid grounds, which were set aside for Muslims to gather to pray at the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Because of the threat of a Boko Haram attack, worshippers were being searched before they reached the Eid grounds - this is where the explosions happened.

Col Usman said four persons died in the first explosion and five died in the second explosion.

"The first blast went off around 07:15 local time (06:15 GMT) while security volunteers who had come earlier than worshippers were waiting for the worshippers so they could assist in crowd control," added eye witness Ahmad Adamu, a security volunteer.

"While we were attending to the victims we heard another blast about 500 metres (547 yards) away," he added.

On Thursday, explosions targeting people shopping for Eid at a market in the north-eastern city of Gombe killed at least 49 people.

Boko Haram at a glance

Image copyright AFP
  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education - Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, abducted hundreds, including at least 200 schoolgirls
  • Joined Islamic State, now calls itself "West African province"
  • Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
  • Regional force has retaken most territory this year

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