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Boko Haram Attacks in Nigerian City Kill 26

by VOA News May 30, 2015

The Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram launched attacks in the northeastern city of Maiduguri on Saturday, killing at least 26 people a day after the inauguration of the country's new president.

A suicide bomb blast at a mosque in Maiduguri, in Borno state, killed at least 18 people, hours after rocket-propelled grenades exploded into homes in the city. More than a dozen people were wounded in the attacks.

Nigeria's new president, Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to crush Boko Haram and to move the command of military operations against the militant group from the capital, Abuja, to Maiduguri.

Witnesses said that following Saturday's attacks, members of an armed youth vigilante group took to the city's streets to prevent the Boko Haram militants from advancing.

The assault on Maiduguri came hours after Boko Haram terrorists bombed a wedding venue in Tashan-Alede, a farming village 270 kilometers from Maiduguri. Witnesses said a second blast hit the site while people were trying to rescue victims of the first explosion.

Seven people were killed and dozens were wounded in the twin blasts.

One witness, Ibrahim Birtus, said, 'I don't know whether the groom is alive or not because there was confusion after the blasts occurred.'

Maiduguri is the largest city in restive northeastern Nigeria, with a population of 2 million, among them hundreds of thousands of refugees.

More than 1.5 million Nigerians have been displaced by the nearly six-year-old Islamic uprising in Nigeria's northeast, which has left an estimated 13,000 people dead.

At the start of the year, Boko Haram controlled a swath of territory larger than Belgium in the northeast of the country. It has since been pushed back with the help of offensives launched by Chadian and Nigerien troops, while Cameroon has fought them off along its borders.

The United States and Britain said Friday that they were ready to increase military cooperation with Nigeria to defeat Boko Haram.

Some material for this report came from Reuters and AP.

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