An explosive device went off in a bar in Nigeria’s northeastern Taraba state on Tuesday, killing three people and injuring 19, police told AFP.
The blast occurred at the popular drinking spot selling moonshine near a cattle market in Iware village, outside the state capital Jalingo.
“We confirmed three people were killed and 19 seriously injured in the explosion,” Usman Abdullahi, Taraba state police spokesman, told AFP.
“The explosive was planted by yet-to-be identified persons but (an) investigation is on,” Abdullahi said.
Taraba is one of several northern states ravaged by criminal gangs of cattle thieves called bandits who raid villages, killing residents and looting homes as well as kidnapping people for ransom.
Although residents blamed bandits for the attack, Abdullahi said it was premature to “point accusing fingers before thorough investigation.”
The use of explosives by bandits is rare.
Jihadist groups waging a 12-year insurgency in the northeast to establish a Caliphate use explosives and stage gun attacks on bars and drinking spots.
There has been growing concern about increasing ties between jihadists and bandits who are motivated by financial motives with no ideological leaning.
Last month gunmen bombed a rail track, derailing a train and forcing their way into VIP coaches, killing at least eight passengers and abducting dozens.
Authorities blamed jihadists and bandits for the attack.
The bandits, who were officially declared as terrorists in January, maintain camps in a vast forest straddling Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, and Niger states.