Victims included children receiving Ramadan “sadaka” from well-meaning individuals.
Traders at the Maiduguri market have told PREMIUM TIMES that the explosion that occurred at the market on Tuesday morning was caused by a bomb concealed in a pick-up van conveying charcoal.
A witness, who did not want his name mentioned for fear of being attacked, said he was not sure whether the bomb was planted in the vehicle overnight or in the morning.
The explosion happened at about 8:20 a.m.
Another witness said many people affected were less privileged children who were receiving Ramadan “sadaka” items from donors as well elderly women selling groundnuts and other foods around the area.
An officer of the State Security Service, SSS, had confirmed the explosion to PREMIUM TIMES minutes after it occurred.
About 50 people were feared killed in the explosion while many others were injured. The explosion occurred near the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, building just outside the market.
The area of the blast has since been cordoned although another part of the large market remained open as at the time of this report.
The Information Officer of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Sani Batti, told PREMIUM TIMES that the headquarters was yet to receive an update and casualty figures from the Maiduguri zonal office.
Efforts to reach emergency and security spokespersons in Maiduguri were unsuccessful as their mobile phones were switched off.
More details later…