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Bombings Kill 44 in Central Nigeria

by VOA News July 06, 2015

Officials in Nigeria said Monday that bombings at a mosque and restaurant in the central city of Jos had killed at least 44 people.

The blasts, which happened late Sunday, also wounded at least 47 others, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.

The attacks continue a deadly string of violence blamed on Boko Haram militants that has left more than 200 people dead in the past week.

Earlier Sunday, a suicide bomber walked into a church in Potiskum, the largest city in Yobe state, and detonated a bomb that killed at least five people. That followed a suicide attack Friday near Maiduguri where officials said six women set off blasts that killed dozens of people.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby condemned the recent Boko Haram attacks in a statement late Sunday and pledged support for the Nigerian people 'in their struggle against violent extremism.'

'We continue to support Nigeria's efforts to bring those responsible for these attacks, as well as previous attacks to justice,' Kirby said. 'As we have said before, the people of northern Nigeria deserve to live free from violence and terror.'

Kirby also praised the multinational force that Nigeria and neighbors Chad, Niger and Cameroon set up last month to fight the militants.

Bodies retrieved

Meanwhile, authorities retrieved more bodies Sunday from houses destroyed in a suspected Boko Haram attack last week in Kukawa.

Haruna Kukawa, a state lawmaker, said he and others had gone to Kukawa on Friday to oversee the burial of 97 people, but 'we found the volunteer aid workers there have gathered up to 113 corpses for burial.' Then, five more corpses were recovered from a burned house, 'so we were able to bury 118 in total.'

During the Kukawa attack, witnesses said gunmen entered mosques and shot men as they prayed before the end of the Ramadan fast, then attacked people's homes and shot women preparing meals.

Attacks increasing

Kukawa is in Borno state, the epicenter of the six-year Boko Haram insurgency. The state has seen a surge of attacks blamed on the Islamist extremist group since President Muhammadu Buhari took office on May 29.

Last month, the president moved the military's command center to the state capital, Maiduguri, as part of efforts to crush Boko Haram.

Boko Haram, whose name in the Hausa language means 'Western education is a sin,' has attacked countless villages, markets, bus stations, government buildings and places of worship since launching its uprising in 2009.

The insurgency has driven an estimated 1.5 million Nigerians from their homes.

Abdulkareem Haruna contributed to this report.

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