Bomb blast hits market in Nigeria's Borno State, 16 dead

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - A bomb blast hit a cattle market in Nigeria's northeastern state of Borno late on Saturday, with as many as 16 people dead, hospital and military sources said, in an attack that bore the hallmarks of Islamist Boko Haram militants.

Boko Haram has killed thousands of people and displaced some 1.5 million in an insurgency to establish an Islamic caliphate in the northeast of Nigeria but appears to have lost most of the territory it seized to government counter-offensives this year.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which followed two weekend bombings that killed at least 30 people and also appeared to be the work of Boko Haram.

"At about 4:30 p.m. on Saturday they brought casualties from the blast scene ...16 bodies were deposited with 24 injured," Lawal Kawu, a paramedic at the teaching hospital in Maiduguri, told Reuters.

He said some of the injured were also in critical condition.

Zakariya Shettima, who lives nearby and arrived on the scene after the blast in the small community of Musari, on the outskirts of Maiduguri city, said he saw blood and body parts and that it had left a crater and destroyed several shops in the market.

(Reporting by Lanre Ola and Isaac Abrak in Abuja; writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; editing by Jason Neely)