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Monday, 22 December 2014

Twin bomb blasts in northeast Nigeria bus station kill 20.............

ABUJA/MAIDUGURI, Nigeria: Two bomb explosions at a bus station in the northeast Nigeria on Monday killed at least 20 people and wounded 40, an emergency services official said, and witnesses said many of the victims had rushed in to help those wounded in the first blast. 

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in the city of Gombe. Boko Haram insurgents have repeatedly set off bombs targeting civilians, especially in the northeast where they are trying to carve out an Islamic state. 

"The second blast was worse than the first one because many people rushed to the scene and were affected. Many were killed and many injured," witness Mohammed Fawu told Reuters by phone. 

Setting off twin bombs is a classic guerrilla tactic which seeks to maximise casualties. 

The official from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), who declined to be named, said 20 were confirmed dead so far and that 40 wounded were currently being treated. 

The blast had been caused by bombs but it was not yet known whether a suicide bomber was involved. 

"I watched as the corpses were being evacuated by the police. They all died in the buses," said Hadiza Suleiman, an undergraduate student, adding that she had seen 20 bodies. 

The military did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Violence in the northeast is killing civilians on a daily basis — about 10,340 this year, according to the Council on Foreign Relations think tank. 

It was the second such attack on Gombe's public transport system in as many months. At the end of October, a car bomb at a bus stop killed at least 10 people. 

The campaign for an Islamic state by Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sinful," has become the gravest security threat to Nigeria, which is Africa's biggest economy, most populous nation and top oil producer. 

Thousands of people have been killed and many hundreds abducted, raising questions about the ability of security forces to protect civilians, especially around the Cameroon border in the north, where the militants are well established. 

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped 172 women and children and killed 35 other people a week ago during a raid on the northeastern village of Gumsuri. 

Around 200 girls snatched in April by the group from a secondary school in the village of Chibok, also in the northeast, remain in captivity.