By Ese Awhotu with agency report
The police yesterday confirmed that 20 people were killed as an explosion rocked a village in Borno State.
The explosion was reported to have occurred at Abachari town, in Damboa Local Government Area, on Saturday evening.
Though no group is yet to claim responsibility for the explosion it is believed Boko Haram insurgents are behind the attack.
The Borno police commissioner, Damian Chukwu, however confirmed the casualty to the media yesterday saying 20 people died while 48 others were injured.
However, residents and witnesses put the casualty figure at 31.
The police explained to journalists in Maiduguri that, “At about quarter to nine, yesterday night,
a loud explosion was heard at Abachari village, along Damboa/Chibok road. The DPO mobilised with our men from the SARS and civilian JTF to the scene and found twenty people dead and 48 others injured.
“Some of the bodies were found chattered, indicating that the explosion came from an explosive device.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Yabawa Kolo, said the agency had deployed its
personnel to evacuate wounded persons to the hospital for quick medical attention.
“Our team has been deployed to render lifesaving support to the victims of the blast. As you can see, they have been tirelessly working with ICRC since morning to evacuate the injured from the airport to the hospital.
“We are all saddened by the unfortunate incident that occured in Damboa,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some locals alleged that the deaths arose from a misfiring by the Nigerian Army’s artillery.
The army, however, denied the claim.
According to reports, Buba Shettima, a witness, said two separate bomb blasts occurred in Shuwari and Abachari.
“The whole of Damboa was shaken by the unfortunate incident. We all scampered for safety as the blasts were coming from different directions. There were bodies everywhere.
“We suspected that the many deaths recorded were a result of the military artillery,” he said.
Mohammed Hassan, another local from the area who corroborated the claim, said: “At about 8:30 pm of on Saturday night, an attack suspected to be from an artillery killed 31 innocent people in Damboa Shehuri and Abachari. The attacks came from two separate directions.
My house was among some of the houses destroyed.”
However, Rogers Nicholas, commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, denied the claim, saying the killings were caused by suicide attacks and not military artillery.
“There was nothing like an attack from the military artillery. You can see the pictures of six female bombers who detonated their explosives and as a result, 20 persons were killed while others were injured,” he said.
Mr Nicholas, a major general, urged people to disregard the claim that the victims were killed by the military and not by suicide bombers.