There were back-to-back terror attacks in the city of Maiduguri, Nigeria, on Thursday and Friday. Maiduguri is the city where Boko Haram formed in 2002, and the insurgent group is suspected to be behind both suicide attacks, although the group has yet to take responsibility.
On Thursday evening, two suicide bombers attacked a local mosque, killing as many as 36. The murders were carefully staged to inflict maximum terror: After the first explosion, as bystanders rushed over to support the injured, the second attacker detonated a bomb, killing and injuring those who were trying to help.
The mosque collapsed in on itself shortly after the second blast, adding to the death toll. A trader near the scene of the attacks spoke of the grim scene, “All the people in the mosque died. Not a single one escaped,” said Muhtari Ahmadu to the AFP.
The second event came early on Friday morning when four female suicide bombers blew themselves up after a confrontation with soldiers while trying to enter the city. The four took the lives of 18, including civilian defense-force members, according to officials with the National Emergency Management Agency.
The spate of bombings come amid Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise that Boko Haram’s six-year-insurgency will be tamed before the year’s end. Just Wednesday, in a speech, President Buhari assured his nation that Boko Haram’s “ability to attack, seize, ravage and hold any Nigerian territory will have been completely obliterated” by December. Attacks have only intensified in the region since Buhari came to power in May. Providing basic security for a weary Maiduguri has proven to be out of Burhari’s reach. This month alone, four separate bombings have rocked the city. The AFP calculates that nearly 1,200 residents have died in attacks by the Islamic radicalist group.
President Obama recently ordered the deployment of 300 U.S. soldiers to West Africa. Along with unarmed predator drones, the forces will conduct reconnaissance, surveillance, and intelligence operations in Cameroon, which borders Nigeria, to combat Boko Haram, which just this year pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.