Nigeria's president warned Thursday that the U.S. refusal to sell his country weapons was “aiding and abetting” Boko Haram, comments that followed a spate of deadly bombings blamed on the group.
Explosions at two bus stations in the northeastern town of Gombe on Wednesday night killed 29 people, officials said. Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency called for urgent blood donations to treat a further 105 people injured in the assaults.
The bombings represent the latest in a series of attacks by the insurgent group in Nigeria and across the country’s borders. In neighboring Cameroon on Wednesday, two suicide bombers killed at least 18 people at a marketplace near the border, officials said.
Nigerian authorities have come under increasing pressure to confront the threat of Boko Haram, a group that has waged a brutal campaign against civilians as it seeks to carve out a separate state in northern Nigeria.
More than 2,600 people have been killed by the group since January, according to the Council of Foreign Relation’s Nigeria security tracker.
Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari returned to the capital, Abuja, on Thursday following a four-day visit to the United States. During his visit, he was warmly received by President Barack Obama but failed to get all he wanted.
“Buhari returns to Abuja, with no weapons sale from USA,” said a headline in Nigeria's The News.
Buhari told policymakers at the U.S. Institute for Peace on Wednesday that Nigeria's armed forces are “largely impotent” because they do not possess the appropriate weapons to fight Boko Haram.
He urged the U.S. president and Congress to find ways around the Leahy Law, which prohibits sales of certain weapons to countries whose military are accused of gross human rights violations.
Amnesty International says Nigeria's military is responsible for the deaths of 8,000 detainees — twice as many as Boko Haram's victims in the first four years of its 6-year-old insurgency.
“The application of the Leahy law ... has aided and abetted the Boko Haram terrorist group in the prosecution of its extremist ideology and hate, the indiscriminate killings and maiming of civilians, in raping of women and girls, and in their other heinous crimes,” Buhari said.
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press