At least 23 people were killed this morning when explosions ripped through a bus station in Gombe in northeastern Nigeria. Many more were injured in the blast.
Gombe’s police chief, Abdullahi Kudu, announced that three suspects were arrested shortly after the incident. Multiple witnesses saw them drive into the station and drop three bags filled with explosives before exiting. The bags were placed between buses as they were filling up with travelers around 9:00 a.m. today.
Although no one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing, Boko Haram is suspected of orchestrating the attack. The group has targeted transportation centers before. In April, Boko Haram detonated a car bomb at the Nyanya Motor Park bus station in Abuja that killed at least 70 people and injured many more.
Gombe has been targeted by Boko Haram in the past. The terrorist group claimed responsibility for a shooting at the town’s Deeper Life Church in January in which six people were killed. In June, a suicide bomber detonated a device near the governor’s house, killing himself and four others.
The attack at the bus station comes on the heels of the Nigerian government’s announcement two weeks ago that it was negotiating a ceasefire agreement with Boko Haram. The terrorist group also reportedly issued a ceasefire around the same time. At the time, reports indicated that the release of the 219 school girls kidnapped from Chibok in April was part of the negotiations. Another report came out today in the Nigerian press that the girls release may be imminent.
But the ceasefire, if there even was one, seems to have been short-lived. This past week, Boko Haram has launched attacks in numerous towns across northeastern Nigeria. On Oct. 26, gunmen attacked a market in Miringa, part of Borno state’s Biu Local Government Area, killing five people. The next day, the group reportedly hit Kukawa in Borno, setting fire to a police station and government buildings, and razing 300 vehicles.
On Oct. 29, reports emerged that Mubi in Adamawa state had fallen to Boko Haram and the group had taken over the headquarters of the Nigerian army’s 234 battalion located there. The Nigerian Defence Headquarters confirmed that the entire battalion stationed in Mubi had fled the scene. The timing of the attack was favorable for Boko Haram, as the army had recently decided to launch operations against the terrorist group from Mubi and had stocked the base with five artillery tanks. The army has since launched an investigation into the battalion’s actions.