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September 24, 2017

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At least 148 people die in separate attacks in Nigeria

JOS, Nigeria -- Rescue workers on Wednesday combed through the rubble of Nigeria's deadliest bomb attack after at least 118 people were killed in the central city of Jos, with Boko Haram blamed for the atrocity.

Emergency services picked through the burnt-out remains of vehicles and collapsed buildings in the New Abuja Market area of the city, where two car bombs exploded within 20 minutes of each other on Tuesday.

The attack was the latest affront to the Nigerian government's internationally backed security crackdown in response to the mass abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls on April 14 that has sparked global attention.

Two more attacks in villages near the girls' hometown of Chibok in northeastern Borno state were meanwhile reported, with witnesses saying that 30 people were killed on Monday and Tuesday.

In Jos, where Boko Haram have attacked before, Plateau state governor Jonah Jang's spokesman said the bombing bore the hallmarks of the Islamist extremists.

"This is not a Berom-Fulani attack," Pam Ayuba told AFP, referring to the long-standing ethnic violence between Christian farmers and Muslim herdsmen that has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the region in the last two decades.

"The investigation is still ongoing but this is clearly an extension of the terrorist activity that has affected the northeast of the country, the Boko Haram insurgents."

Kyari Mohammed, a Boko Haram specialist and chairman of the Centre for Peace Studies at Modibbo Adama University in Yola, Adamawa state, also blamed the Islamists.

"They're the only ones capable of doing this. Every other rebel or fringe group can use bombs but not of this scale or sophistication," he said.

"I have the feeling that what they want to achieve is to escalate things because of the international pressure which has built up (because of the kidnapping)."

On the day of the mass abduction, Boko Haram launched a car bomb attack on a bus station in a suburb of the capital Abuja which killed 75 and are suspected of a copy-cat attack in the same location on May 1 which left 19 dead.

Four people were killed in a suicide car bomb attack in the northern city of Kano on Sunday, although it was unclear whether the attack was linked to Boko Haram, despite the militants having attacked the city before.

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