Bomb Attacks in Nigerian Towns Kill More Than 30 People

Bomb attacks on two Nigerian towns left more than 30 people reported dead, the latest violence in a country that has postponed elections because of an insurgency by Islamist militants from the Boko Haram group.

In Jos in the central Plateau state, the assailants threw explosives from a moving vehicle toward a roadside bus stop, Musbahu Idris, a driver in the city, said by phone Thursday. Idris put the death toll at 16, while Ikedichi Iweha, a spokesman for the security forces, said details weren’t yet clear.

In Biu in the northeastern region that’s been at the center of the fighting, two suicide bombers struck a crowded area in the town center and at least 18 bodies have been evacuated, according to Baagana Bakura, a member of a local vigilante group. One of the attackers blew up when he was fired at by soldiers, Salisu Maigari, a local resident who witnessed the incident, said by phone.

The conflict with Boko Haram has left thousands of people dead and has escalated this year, drawing in soldiers from neighboring countries, including Chad and Niger to help fight the group. Nigeria postponed presidential elections by six weeks to March 28, to give the army time to defeat the militants.

Surprise Visit

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday made a surprise visit to areas in the country’s northeast affected by the insurgency to thank troops who recently seized key towns from the insurgents. Jonathan told reporters in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, he went to see for himself the impact the wave of violence is having on local communities.

His stops included the border town of Baga, which the army said it captured from the rebels on Feb. 21, more than a month after Boko Haram seized the town in a raid that human rights group Amnesty International said killed hundreds of people.

Jonathan’s administration has come under fire for failing to tackle the worsening insurgency, with security a key issue in his campaign for re-election in a contest against former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.

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