Quentin Leboucher / AFP / Getty Images

At least 10 killed in Nigeria bombings

At least two teenage girls reportedly used for bombings that officials blamed on Boko Haram

A series of explosions has rocked the city of Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria, with at least 10 reported killed and 39 injured, witnesses and police said.

Details remained sketchy about the exact number of bombings in the explosions on Thursday in the Borno state capital, but a local police officer said as many as seven went off and locals reported at least two bombs were strapped to teenage girls.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but local officials blamed it on Boko Haram, which is active in the area and has waged a war against the government for years as its tries to carve out its own state based on its extreme version of Islam.

Boko Haram fighters regularly use suicide bombers to target civilians, including in Maiduguri, where on Sept. 21 at scores were killed in a wave of attacks. They have on a several occasions used children to detonate explosives in crowded areas.

"The first bomb was strapped to the body of a teenage girl, who wanted to kill worshippers at Ajilari Cross," said Bashir Ali, a driver in the area.

Ajilari Cross, near Maiduguri airport, where there is also a military base, was one of several places in the city hit 10 days ago.

Ali said the target appeared to have been a mosque, just as worshippers were preparing for evening prayers.

"Tragedy was averted because there was a little delay as the prayers did not commence in earnest and the bomb strapped to the body of the girl went off and killed her," he added."It did not affect any other person."

Maiduguri has been on edge since the last round of bombings, with locals fearing further bloodshed. The sound of the first explosion saw many flee their homes.

Bakura Ajiya, a butcher, said there were three blasts that claimed a number of lives as people were leaving the area. He did not specify how many.

He added that there was another teenage girl carrying explosives targeting a separate gathering in Ajilari, but the bomb failed to go off.

"When she attempted to flee, the police shot her in the leg," he said.

A senior police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed: "In all, there were about seven explosions but we are trying to get the details.

"I cannot tell you the casualty figures for now."

Exact details of the blasts and casualties are unlikely to emerge until Friday, as Maiduguri is subject to a nighttime curfew.

Nigeria's military on Thursday said one man was arrested after troops discovered and raided what it said was a Boko Haram fuel dump in the Abbaganaram area of Maiduguri on Wednesday.

"The fuel depot was used to stockpile petroleum, oil and lubricants by Boko Haram terrorists and their equally heartless collaborators for onward movement to the terrorists' camps in Sambisa forest," army spokesman Sani Usman said in a statement.

Separately, Usman said 80 Boko Haram fighters had surrendered to troops in the town of Bama, some 45 miles southeast of Maiduguri.

Military commanders, who in early August were given a three-month deadline to end the insurgency, this week said they were holding 315 Boko Haram fighters who had given up their weapons.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has said he was hopeful of an end to "conventional" fighting by early November, but guerrilla-style attacks on civilians may continue.

Amnesty International on Wednesday said more needed to be done to protect civilians, with at least 1,600 killed in Boko Haram violence in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger since the start of June, taking the toll to some 3,500 this year.

At least 17,000 people have been killed in the conflict since 2009 and 2.5 million made homeless, mainly in Nigeria.

The U.N.'s regional humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel region, Toby Lanzer, said in New York on Wednesday the effects of the insurgency had created "the fastest-growing crisis in Africa.”

Al Jazeera and Agence France-Presse

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