Nigerian police: Car bomb kills 20 at bus station

Haruna Umar Associated Press

Maiduguri, Nigeria — A car bomb exploded Monday at a bus station in Nigeria’s northeastern city of Gombe, killing at least 20 people and injuring another 60, said rescue workers.

At least 20 people were “burned beyond recognition by the bomb explosion,” and another 60 were hospitalized, said Red Cross official Abubakar Yakubu.

The explosion came in the early hours when the station was crowded with holiday travelers, said Deputy Superintendent Fwaje Atajiri.

Atajiri would not speculate over who was responsible though the attack bears all the hallmarks of Nigeria’s home-grown Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram.

In a separate attack, militants yelling “Allahu akbar,” meaning “God is great,” drove into the northeastern town of Geidan, spraying gunfire from pickup trucks on Sunday night, according to fleeing residents.

Police Corporal Musa Isa said the insurgents destroyed all three cell phone towers in the town, in Yobe state neighboring Gombe, leaving it without communications.

The attackers broke into the local prison and freed the inmates, said resident Umar Ibrahim. He said they also threw bombs that set fire to the police station, government headquarters and hundreds of vehicles at a station for long-distance drivers.

The Boko Haram extremists want to impose an Islamic state in Nigeria, which is divided almost equally between Muslims, who dominate the north, and Christians in the south.

Hundreds of Nigerians have been killed by car bombs and suicide bombers this year mainly in northeastern Nigeria, which is home to the Islamic uprising.

Some of the worst attacks include: twin car bombings in the central city of Jos which killed at least 118 people in May; a car bomb that killed about 100 people in April at a crowded bus station on the outskirts of the capital, Abuja, in central Nigeria; a suicide bomber who killed at least 58 students at a school in Potiskum, in northeastern Yobe state; two suicide bombers who blew themselves up and gunmen opened fire at the main mosque in northern Kano, Nigeria’s most populous Muslim city, killing at least 120 people and wounding another 270 in November.