The Nigerian Army said only one soldier was killed and two others injured.
At least six soldiers on peace-keeping duty were killed when a suicide bomber ran into military patrol van on Tuesday in the central city of Maiduguri, the Borno State Capital, witnesses and military officials said.
The spokesperson of the Joint Task Force, JTF, Sagir Musa, however claimed, in an unusually prompt statement, that the blast killed only a soldier and injured three others.
An official of the General Hospital in Maiduguri told PREMIUM TIMES that he saw six corpses being taken to the general hospital in two patrol vehicles.
“The corpses were six in number; all of them soldiers. They were taken into the hospital and immediately the military came to evacuate them to the barracks,” said the official, who sought anonymity for not having the permission to talk to the media.
The witness’ statement was corroborated by military sources in the Borno capital.
Mr. Musa, a Lieutenant Colonel, said in an emailed statement that “a remote control Improvised Explosive Device planted by terrorists, targeted at JTF patrol vehicles exploded at First Bank/ Mr Bigs Round About in Maiduguri city at about 12:15 am today Tuesday, 19 March, 2013.”
“The blast led to the death of 1 soldier, 2 soldiers were wounded and a Toyota Hilux vehicle and a Civil Honda Accord car were damaged. No civilian casualty was recorded. The area was cordoned off and swept by the Bomb Disposal Arm of the JTF to avoid possible further explosion of undetonated bombs on poor innocent civilians. The suspected terrorists were arrested in connection with the incident.
“The incident occurred barely 24 hours after some trigger excited gunmen attacked four primary schools in the city killing 11 persons among which were four female teachers and pupils,” he added.