ABUJA, Nigeria — Suspected Islamic extremists killed at least 54 people when they detonated explosive devices in crowded places Sunday night in Maiduguri the capital of the northeastern state of Borno, members of civilian defense group said Monday.
Forty-three people died in an attack on a mosque and 11 were killed in an attack on a market center, said the civilian defense force members, who insisted anonymity for fear of reprisals from the Nigerian military which has been deployed to guard civilians in the town.
There were four explosions in the attacks one in a Mosque after evening prayers, another at a market place and two homemade explosives were thrown into a business center where people charge their phones and play video games, said a member of the civilian militia.
The blasts occurred within 20 minutes, he said.
A dusk till dawn curfew in Maiduguri limits the flow of information as journalists fear of getting attacked by the militants or the army at night.
The number wounded from the blasts was still not available, said Lt.Col. Tukuru Gusau, the army spokesman for the 7th Division based in Maiduguri.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the initial suspicion has fallen on the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, which has resorted to hit-and-run tactics after the Nigerian military recaptured territory once held by the militants.
Military spokesman Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman said the attacks signify the increasing desperation of Boko Haram. At least 20,000 people have been killed in Boko Haram's six-year-old uprising which has displaced 2.1 million people across three countries.
Ola reported from Maiduguri.
This story has been corrected to show that the explosions happened Sunday, not Monday.