11th January, 2015
Two explosions ripped through a crowded mobile phone market in the northeast Nigerian city of Potiskum on Sunday, residents said, a day after a car exploded outside a police station, killing at least two.
The blasts rocked the Kasuwar Jagwal market within seconds of each other at about 3:10 pm (1410 GMT) when business was at its peak but there were no immediate indications of the number of casualties.
“The first explosion happened inside the market and the second went off just outside the entrance as people rushed out to flee,” said witness Ibrahim Dambam.
It was not clear whether the blasts were caused by suicide attacks or explosives left in the market, where new and second-hand phones are sold and repaired.
Sunday is Potiskum’s market day and attracts traders and shoppers from all over Yobe State and beyond.
Another witness, Badaru Isa, said security operatives had taken over the site, which had been deserted.
“No-one can say how many people were affected by the blasts because everybody fled the area following the explosions,” he added.
Panicked shoppers fled and traders abandoned their stalls at both the mobile phone market and the city’s main market, which is just next door.
On Saturday, a car exploded outside a nearby police station in the city, killing the driver and a policeman. The vehicle was being escorted to the facility after being stopped earlier at a checkpoint.
Hours before that incident, at least 19 people were killed when a female suicide bomber, thought to be aged just 10, exploded outside a market in Maiduguri, the state capital of neighbouring Borno.
Boko Haram were suspected of instigating the Maiduguri attack, as it has increasingly used female suicide bombers in its violent campaign for a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria.
Car bombings and explosions caused by devices left in crowded places have also been hallmarks of its bloody, six-year insurgency.
In November last year, a female suicide bomber killed 12 people in an attack on another mobile phone market in the town of Azare, in nearby Bauchi state.
Potiskum, the commercial capital of Yobe, has seen a spate of attacks by the Sunni Islam radicals, including one against a Shia procession last November which killed 15.
A week after that attack, at least 58 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up a city secondary school.