A bomb hidden in a tent exploded on Friday at Nigeria’s largest camp for people who have been displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency, killing at least seven residents, including five children, emergency officials and witnesses said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but officials suspected that the bombing had been carried out by Boko Haram, the Muslim extremist group that has been waging a campaign of killing, kidnapping and plundering through swaths of Nigeria for years.
Boko Haram has attacked many military outposts, schools, markets and villages. However, the bombing in eastern Nigeria on Friday appeared to be the first time Boko Haram had made a target of a camp for people whose lives had already been upended by the group.
The Nigerian National Emergency Management Agency said in a post on its Web site that the blast also wounded at least 20 residents of the camp, in Yola, the capital of Adamawa state.
The camp is home to thousands of Nigerians who have sought refuge from Boko Haram, mainly from the states of Borno and Yobe in the north.
Educators at the American University of Nigeria, a private institution in Yola, said at least two students and school employees who had been volunteering at the camp were among the wounded, none with life-threatening injuries.
“We’re really very fortunate,” university president Margee Ensign said in a telephone interview.
She said security officials had told her that a large influx of newly displaced people had arrived at the camp on Thursday, and they suspected the bomber had sneaked in with them.
Ensign, who has worked in Africa for many years, said she had never before heard of a Boko Haram attack on a camp for internally displaced people in Nigeria.
“I don’t see any ideology except destruction,” Ensign said.
Former Nigerian vice president Atiku Abubakar, who founded the university in 2003, denounced the assailants.
“Today’s attack is an attempt to break the spirits of the people who came to seek refuge,” he said on Twitter. “The perpetrators will know no peace.”
The bombing came a few days after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected this year partly on a pledge to crush Boko Haram, said Nigerian military forces were gaining the advantage.
In July, Buhari dismissed all of his top military officials and reorganized the fight against Boko Haram after weeks of violence that had left hundreds of civilians dead.
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