Witnesses in Damaturu, a northeastern town in the Nigerian state of Yobe, say a suicide bomber in a tricycle taxi detonated explosives that killed at least 21 people Tuesday as soccer fans gathered at a store with a television to watch Brazil and Mexico play during the World Cup.
At least 27 people were injured.
No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Public World Cup screenings have been banned in certain parts of Nigeria because of threats by Boko Haram, however. Locals said this had been a popular, crowded gathering spot for World Cup games.
Yobe—along with Eastern Nigeria states of Borno and Adamawa—has been under a government-imposed state of emergency since May 2013 due to these sort of public attacks.
The BBC reports that military trucks made at least four return trips to a Damaturu hospital, loading in the injured late Tuesday, many of whom were children.
YouTube user geziyorum posted a slideshow of what appears to be images of the attack’s aftermath.
Soccer has been derided by Boko Haram as “un-Islamic,” and Tuesday’s attack joins a year already littered with similar incidents in Eastern Nigeria. On June 1, 14 people were killed in an Adamawan bar, also during a soccer telecast, from a bombing. In March, Boko Haram was blamed for another bombing during a soccer broadcast viewing party in the Borno town of Maiduguri.
An estimated 17.5 million Nigerians watched their country’s opening World Cup showdown with Iran Sunday.
Damaturu, a town of 44,000, has shouldered a heavy burden from Boko Haram insurgency. In June 2013, Boko Haram attacked a school in Damaturu and killed 13 people. In October, Boko Haram raided an area hospital, engaging in a shootout with local officials.
Boko Haram, meaning “Western education is forbidden” in Hausa, garnered worldwide attention in April after abducting more than 250 school girls in the Borno city of Chibok. Since Boko Haram’s 2002 inception, thousands have been killed in its militant quest for an Islamic state.
Just this month, Boko Haram has been tearing through eastern Nigeria and attacking villages near the Cameroon border, and leaving hundreds of civilians dead.
Illustration by Nicholas Raymond/Flickr (CC BY-2.0)