About 19 people were killed and 17 others injured in a suicide bombing in north-east Nigeria, a day before the president visited another town hit by violence.
The bodies and remains of about 20 people were taken to hospital in the town of Biu in Borno state after yesterday’s attack, said Nasiru Buhari, a member of the Civilian Joint Task Force, formed by residents to fight against Boko Haram.
The suicide bomber may have been heading for Biu market, but could not get past security points set up by the Civilian JTF, witnesses said.
A security official confirmed the bombing.
Today, President Goodluck Jonathan made an unannounced visit to Mubi in the north-eastern state of Adamawa. The Nigerian military reclaimed Mubi in November after Boko Haram fighters had seized it in October, renaming the town “Madinatul Islam”, meaning “City of Islam”.
The president met soldiers and the traditional ruler, residents said.
Mr Jonathan’s visit to the former Boko Haram stronghold came a day after the Nigerian army chief visited Baga, another town that was previously overtaken by Boko Haram.
Lieutenant General Kenneth Minima travelled to Baga yesterday and later told journalists that residents displaced by Boko Haram should be able to return to vote in the March 28 presidential election.
President Jonathan is in the midst of a close re-election bid, running against ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigerian defence officials have announced recent victories in the fight against the insurgents, claiming to have recaptured towns across the embattled north-east, where Boko Haram’s insurgency has displaced an estimated 1.6 million.
The United States Senate this week voted unanimously to condemn attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram against innocent civilians, according to a statement. It also called on Nigeria’s government to ensure that upcoming national elections on March 28 and April 11 are safe, credible, and transparent.