Medical sources say the death toll from the deadly overnight bomb blasts gun battle in Potiskum, Yobe has risen to at least 56 people. A nurse receiving bodies at a local hospital in the remote northeastern city in Nigeria confirmed the figure to Reuters.
Unidentified gunmen swept through the through the town of Potiskum in attacks that began on Wednesday night, setting off explosives and firing on a cattle market in Yobe.
The police commissioner, Moses Namiri, still puts the number of people dead at 34, adding that the radical Boko Haram sect is suspected to be behind the attacks.
“I have counted 56 bodies at the morgue and I am sure that the death toll could rise in view of the serious nature of injuries sustained,” the nurse at Potiskum hospital, who gave his name as Babangida, said.
“The Potiskum mortuary is made up of a room and a parlour and I counted the 56 in the parlour only. I didn’t go into the inner room.”
Namiri says the attacks bear the hallmarks of a Boko Haram strike. “They threw explosives and used guns,” he said, adding that “the gunfire lasted for almost an hour.”
The explosions and gun fire that rocked the Potiskum market is believed to be a reprisal attack by the armed men. According to reports, a group of gunmen had earlier attacked the market, attempting to rob some cow traders. They robbed one dealer of his money and stole when cow, but the traders fought back, beheading and burning one of the robbers, while they held another in their custody.
According to reports, the gunmen returned hours later and launched the bloody attack on the market, racking up a high casualty count.
Ten men surrounded the market, blocked the exits and proceeded to open fire and throw bombs on the crowd, leading to mass panic; the criminals then set the market itself on fire, the AGI reported.
The attack is the latest in a spate of deadly attacks, staged by the deadly Boko Haram sect.
Both Potiskum and Damaturu, the Yobe state capital, have consistently come under the attack of the Boko Haram sect since the beginning of the year.