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Suicide Bomber Hits Mosque in Nigerian City Hours After Deadly Boko Haram RPG Attack

The attack on Maiduguri, the capital of the Nigeria’s restive Borno state, came just one day after the country’s new president vowed to take on the militant group.

by Gillian Mohney
May 30 2015, 6:30pm

Photo by Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

Boko Haram militants reportedly fired rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) during an attack early Saturday morning in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri that left at least 30 people dead. A suicide bomber also targeted a mosque near the city's main market on Saturday afternoon, reportedly killing at least 16 people.

The attacks came just one day after new Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari vowed during his inauguration to take on the "godless" militant group.

Ali Bakomi, a witness to the blast at the mosque, said the bomber was pushing a wheelbarrow and pretending to be an itinerant trader at the nearby market when he joined worshippers, according to the Associated Press. The bomber reportedly killed himself and at least 16 others.

Related: The War Against Boko Haram

The RPG attack on Maiduguri, the capital of the Nigeria's restive Borno state, reportedly began at around 1am local time. One resident said he heard at least 40 grenade blasts before he lost count.

"Each time they fired into the town, we saw bright sparkling flashes which moved with great speed… One of the blasts shook my roof so badly that I thought it must have landed on my house," Mari Madu told the AP.

According to a Nigerian intelligence officer who spoke with the AP on the condition of anonymity, soldiers fired "heavy assault rifles" to drive back the militant attackers. Maiduguri resident Idrissa Mandara said at least five children were killed in the attack.

"Eight persons were killed in my compound," Mandara said. "Five died instantly and three died at the hospital. We also have five others that have been buried after they were found dead in their homes."

On Friday, two blasts during a wedding at a remote village in Borno killed at least seven people.

Related: Nigerian President Vows to Attack 'Godless' Boko Haram

In his speech Friday, Buhari said the government would continue to fight Boko Haram, calling the group "mindless," and "as far from Islam as one can think of."

Buhari, a retired military general who was head of state for two years in the 1980s after seizing power in a coup d'état, won the election over incumbent Goodluck Jonathan amid accusations that Jonathan had not done enough to protect Nigerians from the militants.

"The armed forces will be fully charged with prosecuting the fight against Boko Haram," Buhari said. "We are going to tackle them head on."

The president said he planned to create a new military center in Maiduguri, which has seen repeated attacks from Boko Haram as refugees pour into the city looking for security. Violence by the militant group has displaced at least 1.5 million Nigerians and caused at least 13,000 deaths.

VICE News' Kayla Ruble and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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