The Borno Police Command on Monday confirmed the death of scores of people after a suspected bomb blast near a mosque in Silimanti on the outskirt of Maiduguri.

Mr Victor Isuku, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), gave the confirmation while speaking with newsmen in Maiduguri.

“I can confirm to you that the incident happened in the early hours of Monday.

“But I cannot give you the casualty figures as aid workers are still counting,’’ Isuku said.

However, some residents claimed that at least 20 persons were killed.

Malam Bukar Idris a resident of the area said:“ I was lucky to have escaped the attack because I left the place few minutes to fetch something in my house for a friend at the gathering.

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“But I lost two childhood friends Mallam Modu Bushara and Mallam Shehu Sawab, ’’ Idris said, adding that he counted at least 20 dead bodies before the arrival of aids workers at the scene.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army had confirmed that 25 people were killed and 85 others injured in Sunday’s deadly attacks when three of 14 female suicide bombers who attempted to invade Maiduguri blew themselves off.

Maj.-Gen. Yushau Abubakar, theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, made the disclosure at a media briefing in Maiduguri.

He said that the 14 female suicide bombers, who were between the ages of 12 and 18, attempted to enter Maiduguri with the intent to cause mayhem, confusion and panic.

Abubakar, who was represented by Maj.-General Lamidi Adeosun, the GOC, 7 Division, said that the girls were intercepted by men of the Nigerian Army on patrol.

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He said that three of the suicide bombers detonated their Improvised Explosive Device (IEDs) in their bodies killing 25 persons and injuring 85 others.

He said that the terrorists intended to carry out massive and coordinated suicide missions through Asmari, Damboa checkpoint, Ali Dawari, Molai Kura, Baderi, Jumari villages on the outskirt of Maidugri.

Abubakar said: “Seven other suicide bombers were gunned down by our troops, three escaped and one was arrested.

“I believe this development has averted what would have been a major disaster if they had gained entrance into Maiduguri.

“One of the girls went to a nearby house and requested for water to perform ablution but instead prepared herself and came to a nearby mosque and blew herself off killing one person while 13 others sustained injuries,” he said.

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Abubakar said that the insurgents recently ambushed Nigerian troops in Mairaria village on the Maiduguri-Monguno and Firgi road.

He said that 14 insurgents and four soldiers died in the ensuing gun battle.

He said that the capacity of the insurgents to carry out coordinated attacks had been degraded, adding that that was the reason why they were now attacking soft targets and laying ambush on soldiers.

Abubakar appealed to the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious movement to the security agencies. (NAN)