A suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a busy bus station in Potiskum, Yobe State on Sunday, killing four people and wounding 35, police said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which bore the hallmarks of Islamist militant group Boko Haram and added to the country’s litany of security woes less than a month before a closely fought presidential vote.
“The information I have is that the car was pretending to be scouting for passengers,” Yobe state police commissioner Danladi Marcus told Reuters by telephone.
“Five people including the bomber were killed in the attack with about 35 others receiving treatment for various injuries at Potiskum General Hospital.”
Violence is surging ahead of polls pitting President Goodluck Jonathan against former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari in the closest contest since the end of military rule in 1999.
A suicide bomber blew himself up at a market in the northeast Nigerian city of Gombe on Friday, killing at least six people and wounding 10.
Boko Haram has killed thousands, kidnapped hundreds of mostly children and destabilised the northeast of Africa’s top oil producer in its five-and-a-half year campaign for an Islamic state.
Violence has also spread into Nigeria’s neighbours around the Lake Chad basin.
Meanwhile, a contingent of soldiers from Chad has arrived in northern Cameroon where it will deploy to the Nigerian border as part of efforts to contain the Boko Haram insurgency, a spokesman for Cameroon’s defence ministry said on Sunday.
Boko Haram, which aims to carve out an Islamist state in northern Nigeria, has stepped up attacks in the region as Africa’s biggest economy prepares for a February 14 presidential election.
The group has expanded its operational zone into northern Cameroon over the past year, prompting Yaounde to deploy thousands of additional forces, including elite troops, to its border with Nigeria.
A convoy of troops from Chad arrived in Maroua, the main town in Cameroon’s Far-North Region, late on Saturday, Colonel Didier Badjeck said while declining to say how many soldiers had been dispatched by N’Djamena.
“In the coming days, they will be deployed to the war zone on the border with Nigeria so that they can join our defence forces to crush and prevent incursions of Boko Haram into Cameroonian territory,” he said.
Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, who recently appealed for international assistance against Boko Haram, announced earlier this week that he was expecting the arrival of a large Chadian force to support his country’s efforts against the militants.
Chad has a reputation as one of the region’s best militaries and helped French forces drive al Qaeda-linked Islamists from northern Mali in 2013.
Despite the growing cross-border nature of the threat posed by Boko Haram, efforts to deploy a joint force from Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon to take on the Islamist fighters have faltered.
Ghana’s President John Mahama, who currently heads West African bloc ECOWAS, told Reuters on Friday that regional leaders will seek approval from the African Union next week to create a new force to fight Boko Haram