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Bombs kill 53 as Nigerian leader says US hampering fight

Published:Thursday | July 23, 2015 | 1:01 PM
President Barack Obama (right) meets with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington.

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP):

Bomb blasts blamed on Boko Haram killed 29 people in Nigeria and 24 in Cameroon, officials said yesterday after Nigeria's new president warned that the United States' refusal to sell his country strategic weapons is "aiding and abetting" the Islamic extremist group.

Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency called for urgent blood donations to treat 105 wounded people, according to spokesman Sani Datti.

He said at least 29 bodies have been recovered at two bustling bus stations in northeastern Gombe town - the latest targets in a campaign that has spilled across Nigeria's borders.

In neighbouring Cameroon, two suicide bombers Wednesday killed at least 22 people at a marketplace near the border, officials said. The toll is likely to rise among the 50 injured, they said.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari returned home yesterday to the capital, Abuja, from a four-day visit to the United States where he was warmly received by President Barack Obama but failed to get all he wanted.

Buhari told policymakers Wednesday at the US Institute for Peace that Nigeria's armed forces are "largely impotent" because they do not possess the appropriate weapons to fight the Boko Haram Islamic militants.

He urged Obama and Congress to be more flexible about the Leahy Law that prohibits weapon sales to countries whose military are accused of gross human rights violations.

Amnesty International charges Nigeria's military is responsible for the deaths of 8,000 detainees - twice as many as Boko Haram's victims in the first four years of its six-year-old insurgency.

"The application of the Leahy Law ... has aided and abetted the Boko Haram terrorist group in the prosecution of its extremist ideology and hate, the indiscriminate killings and maiming of civilians," Buhari said.