Two suicide bombers have struck a crowded market in the northeastern Nigerian city of Yola while pretending to fight each other, killing at least 31 people, according to emergency officials and police.
The assailants, with explosives strapped to their bodies, faked a scuffle on Thursday in order to attract more spectators that they could target at the Jimeta Main Market in the Adamawa state capital, Othman Abubakar, police spokesperson, said.
The staged fight between the two men “attracted the attention of people nearby to see what was happening”, he told AFP news agency.
“When people had gathered they detonated their explosives … They killed a sizeable number of people,” Abubakar said.
Saad Bello, Yola’s National Emergency Management Agency coordinator, said “so far, we have 31 dead victims and 38 people in hospital receiving treatment” as a result of the blasts.
“Some whose injuries were not severe were discharged,” he told AFP.
In recent years, Yola has come to be seen as a relative safe haven for hundreds of thousands of people forced to flee their homes because of ongoing violence in the country.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but fingers will likely be pointed at Boko Haram, which has carried out several attacks in the north of the state in recent weeks.
More than 60 people have been killed in attacks since the weekend in Maiduguri, the northeastern city that is the birthplace of the armed group.
The violence poses a great challenge to the country’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari, who announced on Friday that he is moving the military’s headquarters from the capital Abuja to Maiduguri to better tackle Boko Haram.