5 Nigerians feared dead in blast near president's rally‏

5 Nigerians feared dead in blast near president
# 03 February 2015 04:20 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. At least five people were reportedly killed on Monday when a suspected female suicide bomber blew herself up near a campaign rally attended by President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria's northeastern Gombe State, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

"A suicide female blew herself up very close to Pantami Stadium, where President Jonathan attended the rally," Hassan Bala, a resident of Gombe State's eponymous provincial capital, told The Anadolu Agency by phone.

"Four others close by died while eight were injured," he said.

Bala said the attack had occurred about 20 minutes after the president had left the rally venue.

A security source who had been part of the president's security detail confirmed the attack.

"The president was still at the airport when the incident happened," he told AA, requesting anonymity. "We understand that some people died and others were injured."

The security source said the blast had occurred outside the perimeter usually established by the president's security guards.

"Going by what our men said, the blast happened inside a vehicle parked some kilometers away," he said. "Apparently, the security sweep did not cover the area."

Gombe has repeatedly witnessed blasts believed to have been carried out by Boko Haram militants.

According to an unconfirmed report, two people were killed by a blast in the same town on Sunday.

For the last five years, Nigeria has battled a fierce Boko Haram insurgency that has ravaged the country's volatile northeast and claimed thousands of lives.

The year 2014 proved to be the insurgency's bloodiest year yet, with increasingly frequent attacks, higher death tolls and a deluge of displaced persons.

In recent months, Boko Haram appears to have graduated from hit-and-run tactics to capturing towns across Nigeria's Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states.

In Borno State alone, militants captured the key towns of Bama, Gamboru Ngala and Gwoza, which they had made the headquarters of a self-styled "Islamic caliphate."

Presently, almost 20 of the state's 27 local councils are said to have been seized by the militants.

The violence displaced well over 1.5 million people in 2014, according to a recent report by the Borno State government.