At least seven suspected Boko Haram fighters were killed on the outskirts of the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, officials and witnesses said.
Three female suicide bombers blew themselves up at a truck station on Friday, detonating vehicles at Muna Garage on the city’s eastern outskirts, the Associated Press reported quoting Deputy Police Superintendent Victor Iskukwu.
The attack targeted refugees preparing to return to their home villages, according to witnesses that spoke to Reuters news agency.
Muna Garage has been attacked many times in recent months.
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Two civilians were killed in the blasts and seven militia – known as self-defence fighters – were wounded, Ayub Ibrahim, a witness told the AP.
“Most of the trucks that were loaded with goods for export to Chad and the border communities were destroyed, along with commodities worth millions of naira,” Ibrahim said.
Another blast took place as people were trying to board the trucks, said resident Isa Mamman.
The attack also targeted a military checkpoint, according to Ahmed Satomi of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency.
Soldiers shot at gunmen on motorcycles that were escorting other suicide bombers, killing at least four of them.
A multinational force of troops from Nigeria and its neighbours last year drove Boko Haram out of towns and villages in northeast Nigeria, but isolated attacks and suicide bombings continue.
In December, President Muhammadu Buhari said the capture of a key camp marked the “final crushing” of Boko Haram in its last enclave in Sambisa forest, once the group’s stronghold.
But since then, the group, which split into two factions last year, has stepped up its attacks.
One Boko Haram faction is led by Abubakar Shekau from the Sambisa forest. Abu Musab al-Barnawi leads the other faction, based in the Lake Chad region, which allies itself to Islamic State or Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The armed group’s seven-year insurgency has killed 15,000 people and forced some two million from their homes.
Source: News agencies