A suicide attack targeting a senior police official’s convoy in eastern Nigeria on Monday killed the bomber and two others, with the senior officer unharmed, authorities said.
“A bomber on a motorcycle rammed into the police rider (motorcycle escort),” police spokesman Ibiang Mbaseki told AFP of the attack in the Taraba state capital Jalingo.
“The bomb went off. The windshield of the (state) police commissioner’s car was shattered ... The bomber died with two others.”
The two victims were passers-by, he said, while the police motorcyclist was wounded and taken to hospital.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility and police declined to name any suspects, though the attack was similar to others carried out by Islamist group Boko Haram.
“For now, we are not mentioning anybody as suspects,” said Mbaseki. “An investigation will be carried out to determine who was responsible.”
Taraba state has not been known to be targeted by Boko Haram, though the state borders others that have been repeatedly hit by such violence.
The alleged mastermind of a Christmas day attack on a church near the capital Abuja which killed at least 44 people was re-arrested in Taraba state in February after having earlier escaped from custody.
Nigeria has been hit by near daily gun-and-bomb attacks, mainly in the country’s north, that have shaken Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer.
On Sunday, attacks on churchgoers in the northern cities of Kano and Maiduguri left a total of 23 people dead, security sources and an NGO have said.
Nigeria is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south. Taraba is located along the eastern-central border.
Boko Haram’s increasingly bloody insurgency has claimed more than 1,000 lives since mid-2009. Police and soldiers have often been the victims, but Christian worshippers have also been targeted.
The group also claimed responsibility for a suicide attack at UN headquarters in Abuja which killed at least 25 people last August.
Boko Haram initially claimed to be fighting for the creation of an Islamic state in Nigeria’s north, but its demands and structure have become less clear in recent months.
It is believed to have a number of factions, some with political motives, as well as a hardcore Islamist wing. Criminal groups are also believed to have carried out violence under the guise of Boko Haram.