A suicide bomber in a car rammed into a military patrol on Sunday in the northeastern Nigerian city of Damaturu, killing himself, at least six soldiers and a civilian, authorities said.
“He detonated the bomb he was carrying in his car, killing himself. Six soldiers were also killed, nine others were injured and are in hospital,” Yobe State police Commissioner Patrick Egbuniwe said.
“One civilian was killed and another one injured,” he added.
A statement purportedly from a spokesman for radical Islamist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the bomber detonated the explosives when soldiers tried to stop him at a checkpoint.
Egbuniwe said the bomber was being chased by a military patrol vehicle and the driver detonated the bomb and blew himself up when soldiers closed in on him.
A security source said the attacker rammed into a multiple vehicle military convoy, affecting two of the vehicles.
Damaturu is the capital of Yobe, which has been hard hit by attacks blamed on Boko Haram.
Sunday’s attack follows a suicide bomber’s attempt to assassinate Yobe’s top traditional Muslim leader, the Emir of Fika, on Friday.
The bomber sought to approach the emir after Friday prayers in the city of Potiskum, but was pushed away. He blew himself up and wounded a number of others.
Authorities have been carrying out raids since the attempted attack in a bid to arrest suspected members of Boko Haram, which has claimed to be fighting for the creation of an Islamic state in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north.
However, the group is thought to include various factions with differing aims, and demands have repeatedly shifted.
In a video posted to YouTube on Saturday, the suspected leader of Boko Haram criticized US President Barack Obama over Washington’s decision to label him a “global terrorist.”
It was unclear when the video was made, but it marked the first time Abubakar Shekau publicly addressed the terrorist designation slapped on him by the US in June.
Aside from Shekau, the US State Department also designated Abubakar Adam Kambar and -Khalid al-Barnawi terrorists. Both were said to be linked to Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Members of Boko Haram are believed to have received training from AQIM in northern Mali, and Western countries have been watching closely for signs of further cooperation.
Several US lawmakers have been pushing the Obama administration to label Boko Haram as a whole a terrorist organization, but US diplomats have stressed that the group remains domestically focused.
They also say deep poverty and a lack of infrastructure in Nigeria’s north must be addressed as part of the solution to the violence.