Islamic radicals allegedly from the Boko Haram terror group killed at least 30 people in a triple suicide bombing Sunday night in the city of Konduga in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno State.
The three jihadists blew themselves up around 9:00 p.m. outside a room where people were gathered to watch a soccer game on television. Along with the 30 casualties, local authorities said at least 40 others were wounded by the explosions.
African news agencies have attributed the attacks to Boko Haram although the terror group has not formally claimed responsibility for the bombings.
“The death toll from the attack has so far increased to 30. We have over 40 people injured,” said Usman Kachalla, head of operations at the State Emergency Management Agency.
Officials said the death toll would have been higher if the owner of the hall had not prevented one of the bombers from entering the packed room.
According to reports, emergency responders were unable to reach the site of the blast quickly, which probably elevated the number of casualties. Konduga is some 25 miles from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.
“Lack of an appropriate health facility to handle such huge emergency situation and the delay in obtaining security clearance to enable us deploy from Maiduguri in good time led to the high death toll,” said Ali Hassan, the leader of a self-defense group in the town.
The Boko Haram terror group began its attacks in northeastern Nigeria in 2009, and since then has spread into neighboring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. Militants of the group have killed more than 27,000 people in the last ten years, displacing an additional two million.
Nathan A. Sales, the U.S. ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism, said that Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) “have been responsible for over 35,000 deaths since 2011.”
In 2016, Boko Haram split into two factions, one of which, led by long-time leader Abubakar Shekau, kept the name of Boko Haram and the other took the name Islamic State West Africa Province. Both groups pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), but ISIS has only given formal backing to ISWAP.
In February 2018, Boko Haram carried out another triple suicide bombing at a fish market in Konduga, killing at least 18 people. In July of that year, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque in Konduga, killing eight.
After Sunday’s attack, the French government issued a statement condemning the assault “in the strongest possible terms” while offering condolences “to the families of the victims and reaffirms its solidarity with Nigeria and its neighbors in their efforts to combat terrorism and stabilize the Lake Chad Basin.”