A truck conveying eight suspected Boko Haram Islamists exploded near a military checkpoint in Maiduguri on Tuesday, killing the occupants, an army spokesman said.
The open truck burst into flames when the explosives concealed in it went off as the insurgents were trying to escape from a military checkpoint, Colonel Sani Usman said.
“They attempted to detonate at a checkpoint but were denied access by troops and as they turned back, it exploded killing all the eight occupants,” he said.
The checkpoint was the last security post leading out of Maiduguri towards the town of Gubio which was liberated from Boko Haram fighters last year.
A police spokesman put the death toll in Tuesday’s blast at nine.
“A van with nine persons on board emerged from a bush path to join the road to Gubio town.
It exploded killing all the persons on board,” Victor Isuku told reporters in Maiduguri.
Maiduguri, the epicentre of Boko Haram insurgency, has recently seen an upsurge in suicide attacks and bombings.
On Saturday, nine people were killed in twin suicide attacks, targeting an internally displaced persons camp and a fuel depot near the city.
Last month, five occupants of a car were killed outside a garage on the outskirts of the city in what authorities said was a suicide attack.
Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency has left at least 20,000 people dead in Nigeria and the border areas of neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, and has made more than 2.6 million homeless.
A sustained counter-offensive has seen the military retake swathes of territory from the insurgents, but the jihadist group still poses a security threat to civilians.