At least 20 killed in mosque bombing in Nigeria

Updated 29 December 2015
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At least 20 killed in mosque bombing in Nigeria

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria: About 20 people were killed and 90 wounded by a bomb explosion in a mosque in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Monday, the state emergency agency NEMA said.
The blast came a day after the army fought Boko Haram militants west of Maiduguri, capital of Borno state and birthplace of their campaign to create an Islamic state in the northeast of Africa’s most populous country.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the blast bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, whose insurgency has killed thousands and displaced some 2.1 million people in the region.
Monday’s blast happened in a western suburb where the army had exchanged fire on Sunday with suspected Boko Haram fighters who it said had tried to slip into Maiduguri to stage suicide bombings. Residents then reported explosions and heavy gunfire.
Musa Abdukadir, a resident, said that after the mosque attack he had counted the bodies of more than 50 victims in the state specialist hospital in Maiduguri. Medics had told him more bodies had been brought to two other hospitals. The count included victims from Sunday’s fighting.
“We all fled yesterday as our houses were on fire. This morning we came back, and while we were counting the people who had burned in the houses, another bomb exploded,” said Ibrahim Goni, a resident who said he had visited the blast scene.
An army counter-offensive earlier this year recaptured most of the territory Boko Haram had seized over the past few years. Boko Haram has since reverted to a strategy of hitting soft targets such as markets, bus stations and places of worship, as well as hit-and-run attacks on villages, mainly in Borno state.

(Reporting by Lanre Ola and Isaac Abraq)


Eiffel Tower evacuated after climber spotted on monument

Updated 5 min 42 sec ago
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Eiffel Tower evacuated after climber spotted on monument

PARIS: The Eiffel Tower was evacuated on Monday afternoon after a man was spotted climbing up the Paris landmark, the company that operates the structure said.
"A climber has been spotted. It's the standard procedure. We have to stop the person, and in that case we evacuate the tower," an official with the SETE operator told AFP, adding that police were on the scene.
The esplanade underneath the monument was also evacuated.
"We kindly advise our visitors to postpone their visit," the SETE added on Twitter.
Police have made contact with the climber but do not yet know why he began his ascent via the iron beams, a police source told AFP.
The tower is regularly the target of rogue freeclimbers hoping to scale one of the world's most famous structures, often for bragging rights.

An unidentified man (L) climbs the Eiffel Tower, which had to be evacuated, in Paris, France, May 20, 2019. (Reuters)

But police have also been called in several times in recent years to try to thwart suicide attempts.
In October 2017, a young man ventured out on one of the beams and threatened to jump before police were able to convince him to come back.
In 2012, a British man managed to climb to the very top of the 324-metre-high tower before plunging to his death.
Nearly seven million people a year visit the 324-metre-high structure, which last week celebrated its 130th anniversary.
The first two floors can be reached by either elevator or stairs, but only elevators whisk people to the top observation deck.
That didn't stop the French urban freeclimber Alain Robert from making it one of his first targets in his campaign to scale the world's biggest buildings with no technical climbing gear.
He got to the top -- not including the antenna-- in the mid 1990s.