As Nigeria bombing kills dozens, Boko Haram named world's deadliest group

The Yola, Nigeria, bombing came days after the country's president declared Boko Haram, which a global think tank has named the world's deadliest terrorist group, to be close to defeat.

Reuters
Nigerian army soldiers wait in position as they attack a Boko Haram position in the Gubio government area of Borno State, Nigeria, earlier this month.

On Tuesday evening, days after Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari visited Yola, Nigeria, declaring that the terrorist organization Boko Haram was close to defeat, a bomb blast ripped through the northeastern Nigerian city, killing 32 people and injuring 80, according to Reuters.

The explosion, which bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, took place in a busy commercial area with livestock and produce markets, as well as an open-air restaurant and a mosque. The blasts rocked Yola around 7:48 p.m. local time, just as worshipers were leaving the mosque and others were eating at the restaurant.

Last Friday, President Buhari traveled to Yola, the capital city of the northeastern state of Adamawa, where he visited Nigerian troops and told them that he believed Boko Haram “are very close to defeat.” He also urged soldiers “to remain vigilant, alert and focused to prevent Boko Haram from sneaking into our communities to attack soft targets."

The explosion comes days after terrorists associated with Islamic State (IS), to which Boko Haram has pledged allegiance, attacked civilians in Beirut last Thursday killing dozens and wounding 200 more, and Paris last Friday, where 129 were killed and at least 350 injured.

Facebook activated its "Safety Check" feature late Tuesday after the Nigerian explosions, to allow users to alert friends and family that they were safe after the bombing. The social media network faced intense criticism recently for activating the feature after the Paris attacks Friday, but not for the Beirut attacks a day earlier.

Facebook usually activates its Safety Check feature, which was launched in 2014 following Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit), after natural disasters, not terrorist attacks. The Paris attacks marked the first time the social media network activated the feature after such an assault.

The feature's five previous deployments – all this year – were after earthquakes (in Afghanistan, Chile and Nepal) and major storms (in the South Pacific and the Philippines). 

In a post on his Facebook page on Saturday, company chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the feature would now be used more frequently.

"After the Paris attacks last week, we made the decision to use Safety Check for more tragic events like this going forward," he said.

The announcement is an acknowledgment of the impact global terror now has on the world. More than 32,000 people around the world were killed by terrorism in 2014, according to the Global Terrorism Index report.

The report named Boko Haram, which killed 6,644 people in 2014, “the most deadly terrorist group in the world."

In the six years since Boko Haram's insurgency has become violent, it has killed between 17,000 and 20,000 people.

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