A large sack of homemade bombs left at an abandoned Boko Haram camp has exploded, killing 63 people, witnesses said Wednesday.
The sack, a suspected booby-trap, was found by civilian self-defense fighters who carried it to the nearby town of Monguno, said fighters.
As a crowd gathered to inspect the sack, which was filled with metal objects, it detonated, resulting in the loss of dozens of lives, according to eyewitness Haruna Bukar
"It's very sad because most of those killed and injured are young men, with a small number of females," Bukar told The Associated Press by telephone.
Boko Haram fighters are known to have used similar improvised explosive devices in the past.
The group often uses women and children to transport similar bombs that are detonated remotely, meaning the carrier has no control, a bomb disposal expert told The Associated Press.
At least 97 people have been killed in suicide bombings in northeast Nigeria since May 30, and 113 in the past month.
Abbas Gava, a spokesman for the civilian fighters, said the recent deaths were tragic.
"This also further heightens our fears of the need for a lot of sweeping to be done by the explosives ordnance department before people are allowed to go back to their liberated homes," he said.
Boko Haram, which is seeking to carve out a separatist state in northern Nigeria to be run according to its own interpretation of Islamic law, has stepped up bombings and hit-and-run attacks since President Muhammadu Buhari announced at his May 29 inauguration that the command control center for the war against the group is moving to Maiduguri, the biggest city in northeast Nigeria and the birthplace of Boko Haram.
The feared armed group, known for deliberately targeting civilians, is behind a 6-year-old uprising blamed for the deaths of some 13,000 people. Boko Haram has also driven more than 1.5 million people from their homes.
Al Jazeera and Associated Press