Thirty-five people, including five soldiers and a local hunter, were feared killed in a bomb explosion at the Maraba–Mubi area of Adamawa state on Thursday, witnesses and security sources said.
The area is about 18 kilometre from Mubi town.
A witness told journalists in Yola, the state capital, that a combined team of the military and local hunters, who gained entrance into Mubi, was on a routine patrol of the area when the bomb detonated.
According to the witness, the blast occurred at a busy area, and happened as people began returning to Mubi after its recapture by security force.
Some reports said the bomb attack was at a bus station.
“The explosive may have been planted by members of the Boko Haram on the day before and it went off while people, including soldiers, gathered in the morning to strategise on their next point of action,” he said.
“Many people gather at the spot most of the time,” he said. “My house is some metres from the scene of the incident. I stood outside my compound watching the suburb and all of a sudden, I heard a loud bang which shook the entire area.
“The few people that were returning to the area started fleeing and it was immediately cordoned off by the military.”
Military sources who confirmed the incident said only five soldiers were killed while dozens others sustained injuries.
Another resident of Mubi said he heard a loud bang as a military convoy was passing on routine patrol.
He said the attack sparked apprehension as residents thought Boko Haram insurgents have launched another attack on the town again.
“Many people hurriedly ran to their homes while others who are anxious ran into nearby bushes for the fear of being hit by bullets or trapped by the insurgents,” said a resident who simple identified himself as Bello.
In the wake of the roadside bomb detonation, the military reportedly intensified stop and search as they mounted many road blocks in other to fish out remnants of Boko Haram insurgents and to prevent movement of weapons in the town.
The roadside bomb incident in Mubi happened less than 24 hours after the blockade of the Federal Highway linking Mubi was lifted as a result of which the security operatives modified the curfew imposed on the areas affected by the insurgency.
The military urged the returning villagers and passers-by to be cautious along the routes.
The authorities also cautioned the people to be wary of strange objects and polythene bags as they may be explosives fashioned to look attractive to unknown victims.
Meanwhile, hundreds of local hunters keeping vigil with the military in the areas of Adamawa State recovered from the insurgents have vowed to ensure Boko Haram is completely chased out or eliminated.
Over 200 hunters entered Mubi Wednesday night to support their colleagues who recaptured Mubi and its environs.
“Our preoccupation now is to ensure that the area is completely secured for the inhabitants to return to their homes,” one of the leaders of the hunters said.
Another leader of the hunters, Young Moris, pledged that they would do all they could to ensure that Michika and Madagali were equally purged of the insurgents as soon as possible.
On the constraints faced by the group, Mr. Moris lamented that despite their personal sacrifices for their motherland, the state government was not encouraging especially in the areas of mobility and feeding.
He advised politicians in power to stop sabotaging the efforts of government as well as playing politics with the insurgents.