Nigerian Bombing Said to Kill 34 People in Northeastern City

The scene of a sucide blast in Maiduguru, Nigeria on March 10, 2015.

Photographer: Olatunji Omirin/AFP via Getty Images

A bomb attack at a market in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri Tuesday killed at least 34 people, according to a doctor at the State Specialist Hospital in the town.

Twenty-eight bodies were brought to the hospital, while another six people died of their wounds at the facility, the doctor, who didn’t want his name to be used because he isn’t authorized to speak to the media, said Tuesday in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

A woman detonated the explosive that was strapped to her body, Hassan Ibrahim, member of a local vigilante group that’s fighting the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, said by phone from Maiduguri.

The city, the birthplace of Boko Haram, has been a target of deadly bombings and grenade attacks by the militants in their campaign to establish an Islamic caliphate in Africa’s biggest oil producer. At least 54 people were killed on March 8 in separate blasts targeting the market and a transit hub in the city, bringing the number of attacks this year to five.

The group pledged allegiance to Islamic State this month as forces from neighboring Chad and Niger joined Nigerian soldiers in the fight against the insurgency. Those joint operations are showing signs of weakening the militants.

Tactics Changing

“The series of military strikes from the regional force in recent weeks has forced Boko Haram to change its tactics away from capturing and occupying territory, to launching single or double target suicide bomb attacks,” Chris Becker, the lead economist and strategist at African Alliance Securities Ltd. in Johannesburg, said in e-mailed comments on Wednesday.

“The engagement of the multinational force has changed the operational climate,” he said. “Even if Boko Haram is not yet going backwards it has certainly stopped moving forward.”

Nigeria postponed presidential and legislative elections scheduled for last month until March 28 after Goodluck Jonathan’s national security adviser said the military needed more time to subdue the rebels and ensure voters’ safety.

“I deplore this act of terror, and the many others carried out by the extremists,” Jonathan was quoted as saying in a statement e-mailed on Wednesday by the presidency. “This is a sad moment for us all. It is a time for extra vigilance.”

Boko Haram killed more than 4,700 people last year, double the number in 2013, according to the Bath, U.K.-based risk consultancy, Verisk Maplecroft.

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