Kano – At least four people were killed on Thursday when suspected jihadists fired rockets on the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri ahead of a visit by President Muhammadu Buhari, emergency workers and residents told AFP.
At least five rockets were fired at around 1000 GMT just hours before Buhari arrived in the city.
“We evacuated four bodies to the hospital from a house hit by one of the rockets,” an emergency official told AFP.
“Several people were injured in the attacks in the three locations affected,” added the official, from the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
One rocket killed a woman and her three children when it struck a home in the neighbourhood of Gomari, near an air force base where Buhari was expected to land, according to resident Abbagana Ahmad.
Officials did not immediately comment on the attacks but residents blamed the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group.
Security was tight as Buhari landed in the city two hours after the attack.
“I assure the governor… that I’m acutely aware of our security here and elsewhere, especially in the northwest,” Buhari said as he inaugurated an educational centre, one of several appearances he made.
He was referring to the jihadist conflict in the northeast and the deadly violence by cattle thieves in the northwest.
“I have ordered and started receiving military hardware from the United States… and we are going to be very, very hard on them,” he said.
ISWAP and its rival Boko Haram have previously launched deadly rocket attacks on Maiduguri. Their 12-year-old insurrection in the northeast has killed over 40,000 people and displaced some two million others.
ISWAP has been consolidating its control following the death in May of Boko Haram’s leader in clashes between the two groups in Sambisa forest.
During his scheduled one-day visit, Buhari was expected to commission a flyover bridge and an educational centre at the local university.
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