- (Photo: Reuters)
A suicide bomber blast that killed 14 people while they watched the World Cup in Nigeria's northeastern region on Tuesday night is being blamed on members of Boko Haram, local police say.
Those who witnessed Tuesday night's attack say a tricycle taxi, equipped with an explosive device, was driven into the outdoor area of a sports bar venue in the northeastern town of Damaturu on Tuesday night, shortly after the World Cup match between Brazil and Mexico had begun.
The explosive device was then detonated, killing seven at the viewing venue, while another seven died later at the main hospital in Damaturu, capital of the Yobe state. Although Boko Haram has not taken responsibility for Tuesday night's attack, many locals are blaming the Islamic militant group for the bombing, as the terrorist organization has previously targeted venues where sports are being viewed.
Police Assistant Superintendent Nathan Cheghan told the Associated Press that along with the 14 person death toll, an additional 26 people were wounded from the attack. Rescue workers were reportedly hesitant to rush to the scene of the explosion, as in the past Boko Haram has initiated a second attack to kill more people, including medical staff.
During the 2010 World Cup, members of the Al-Shabab, a Somali-based jihadist group, detonated explosive devices at viewing venues in Uganda, killing 74.
Tuesday evening's attack came just two days after 20 suspected Boko Haram militants opened fire in the Christian village of Daku in the district of Askira Uba in the Borno state. The gunmen reportedly killed 15 while they burned homes, a Christian church, and a local market. Members of Boko Haram are seeking to make Nigeria a completely Islamic state despite it substantial Christian population.
"The gunmen looted food items and money left by traders while fleeing the attack," eyewitness and resident Andrew Musa told CNN regarding Sunday's attack. "They pursued people who attempted to flee into nearby bushes and shot them." Musa added that the village chief was one of the 15 killed in the attack.
Boko Haram has made international headlines in the past month for kidnapping over 200 schoolgirls in the Borno state and holding them hostage since April. The Nigerian government has received international condemnation for not doing more to free the girls, and countries including the U.S., Great Britain and France have sent intelligence aid in an attempt to recover the young women.
Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Islamic militant group, has agreed to free the girls in exchange for prisoners detained by the government, but the country's president, Goodluck Jonathan, has said he refuses to negotiate with terrorists.