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Nigerian president responds to bomb attacks

More than 40 people have been killed in bomb attacks in the north east of the country this week.

Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated in Abuja, Nigeria.

ABUJA - Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has extended his condolences to the families of victims of a series of bomb attacks in the north east of the country this week.

On Tuesday night at least 31 people were killed when a blast hit the city of Yola.

Hours later a twin suicide bombing killed more than a dozen people at a mobile phone market in the town of Kano.

The suicide bombers were females, aged 11 and 18.

While it's suspected militant Islamist group Boko Haram is behind the attack, no group has claimed responsibility.

Meanwhile, a massive manhunt is underway in Nigeria for more suspects behind the blasts.

The attacks bear the hallmarks of Boko Haram, suggesting that the militant Islamist group, which has killed thousands over the last six years in its bid to create a state adhering to strict Sharia or Islamic law in the northeast, is stepping up its operations.

"Over 100 persons injured and 14 others lost their lives in today's market bomb blast in Kano," said Sani Datti, a spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (Nema).

Suspected members of Boko Haram have killed more than 1,000 people since President Muhammadu Buhari took office in May.

"President Buhari reassures Nigerians that his administration is very much determined to wipe out Boko Haram in Nigeria and bring all perpetrators of this heinous crime against humanity to justice," said presidency spokesman Garba Shehu.

He said Buhari urged vigilance to help ward off suicide terror attacks on "soft targets", adding that Nigeria's "reinvigorated, well-equipped and well-motivated armed forces and security agencies" would overcome Boko Haram very soon.

These attacks came less than a day after 34 people were killed and 80 wounded in an explosion at a market in the northeastern city of Yola late Tuesday.

Earlier, the Global Terrorism Index said the Boko Haram terror group was responsible for 6,644 deaths last year, a one-year increase of 317 percent.

ATTACKS CONDEMNED

In Washington, the State Department condemned "horrific" bombings in the northern towns of Yola and Kano in recent days, and said the United States was committed to working with Nigeria and its neighbors to defeat Boko Haram.

"We denounce the callous terrorist acts," spokesman John Kirby said, adding: "Those responsible for these crimes must be held accountable."

Since losing most of the territory they took over earlier this year to the Nigerian army, the militant group has focused attacks on markets, bus stations and places of worship, as well as hit-and-run attacks on villages.

Suspected Boko Haram militants have carried out attacks in neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon in recent weeks but until Tuesday had not struck northeastern Nigeria since late October.

Additional information by Reuters

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