Five suicide bomb attacks today hit in or near the Nigerian city of Maiduguri, killing at least 54 people and wounding 143. Four of the blasts occurred over four hours in locations from a busy fish market to a crowded bus station, said Police Commissioner Clement Adoda. The fifth explosion from a car bomb at a military checkpoint 50 miles outside the city wounded a soldier and two members of a civilian self-defense unit. The bomber apparently wanted to reach Maiduguri. In the deadliest blast, 18 people died when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a tricycle taxi at the entrance to the bustling Baga fish market, police said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bear the hallmarks of the Boko Haram extremist group. Maiduguri is the birthplace of Boko Haram, and the extremists have made it the target for many bombings since they were driven from their base there after a military state of emergency was declared in May 2013. Boko Haram has increased suicide bombings and village attacks in recent weeks as forces from Nigeria and Chad have driven the insurgents from a score of towns along Nigeria's border with Cameroon. (Read more Nigeria stories.)