(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Two suicide bombers have attacked a town in north-eastern Nigeria only hours after the country’s army chief urged displaced residents to return home because it was safe.
The blasts hit the town of Damboa in Borno state on Saturday evening and residents say at least 31 people died.
The explosions were followed up by rockets fired from outside the town.
Boko Haram militants are suspected. Army chief Lt Gen Tukur Buratai had said they were no longer a threat.
“Let me use this opportunity to call on the good people of northern Borno… to return to their communities which have long been liberated by our gallant troops,” he said at an inauguration ceremony for gunboats earlier on Saturday.
A four-month military operation started on 1 May to expel Boko Haram insurgents from northern Borno and the Lake Chad region.
No group has said it carried out Saturday evening’s attacks but a militia leader speaking to AFP, Babakura Kolo, said they bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, a jihadist group that wants to establish a caliphate in northern Nigeria.