Jun 22, 2018 Last Updated 9:57 AM, Jun 22, 2018
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Two suicide bombers have attacked a town in north-eastern Nigeria only hours after the country's army chief urged displaced residents to return home because it was safe.

The blasts hit the town of Damboa in Borno state on Saturday evening and residents say at least 31 people died.

The explosions were followed up by rockets fired from outside the town.

Boko Haram militants are suspected. Army chief Lt Gen Tukur Buratai had said they were no longer a threat.

"Let me use this opportunity to call on the good people of northern Borno... to return to their communities which have long been liberated by our gallant troops," he said at an inauguration ceremony for gunboats earlier on Saturday.

A four-month military operation started on 1 May to expel Boko Haram insurgents from northern Borno and the Lake Chad region.

No group has said it carried out Saturday evening's attacks but a militia leader speaking to AFP, Babakura Kolo, said they bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, a jihadist group that wants to establish a caliphate in northern Nigeria.

Officials said at least 20 people died in the attacks but residents said they had counted the dead and an anonymous local official confirmed the toll.

"It has destroyed our houses. We have also counted 31 innocent people including children and elderly killed in the attack," local resident Modu Usman, son of a community leader, told Reuters news agency.

More than 40 people were injured in the attacks, which were aimed at people celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday in the Shuwari and Abachari districts of the town.

The rocket attacks appear to have caused most of the casualties, a local official said.

The UN says 1.7 million people have been forced from their homes due to the Boko Haram conflict, which is now in its ninth year.

Boko Haram uses suicide bombers, often young girls, to target civilians and soldiers.

In one of the most recent attacks, bombers killed dozens of people in and around a mosque in the town of Mubi.

Despite the ongoing threat of suicide bombings, the security situation in north-east Nigeria has improved, says BBC Africa Editor Will Ross.

But there will be some scepticism about calls to return home, our correspondent adds. Previous promises that it is safe because the jihadists have been defeated have proved to be premature.

Cattle thieves have killed more than 20 people in Nigeria's northern state of Zamfara, officials say.

The thieves arrived in the village of Zanoka on motorbikes, shooting at people and setting fire to their homes.

Clashes between vigilantes and cattle rustlers in Zamfara have intensified in recent months.

Violence related to cattle has been going on for years in Nigeria - even longer than the northern Islamist insurgency and southern oil militancy.

It is now said to have killed more people than the Boko Haram conflict, although official statistics are hard to come by.

The chairman of the local government area for Zanoka, Mustapha Muhammad, told the AFP news agency that people in the village had "buried 23 people killed in the attack, including vigilantes who tried to fight off the bandits".

According to the Zamfara state government, more than 10,000 cattle have been stolen in the last seven years.

Most of the violence involving cattle theft is in the country's Middle Belt where cattle-herders and settled farmers compete for ever-scarcer resources, says BBC World Service Africa Editor, Mary Harper.

Some analysts say that it is a conflict between Muslim nomads and Christian farmers in this region. However, it is more complex than that, involving criminals and politicians, our correspondent says.

Many people say poor governance lies at the root of the violence, she adds, with security forces regarded as ineffective or corrupt.

Kidnappings for ransom have also been on the rise. In early May, about 100 people were abducted in just two days on a road near Kaduna's border with Zamfara state.

Tanzanian conjoined twins Maria and Consolata Mwakikuti have died at the age 21 after suffering respiratory complications at a local hospital.

The women, who were joined from the navel downwards and shared organs like the liver and lungs, had two hearts and separate heads and arms.

They were admitted to hospital in December due to issues relating to heart disease but died on Saturday.

The twins were popular in Tanzania and the news has caused sadness nationwide.

Many people took to social media on Sunday to send messages of condolence to the family and friends.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli tweeted that he was "saddened" by their deaths, adding that Consolata and Maria had "dreamed of serving the nation".

In an interview with the BBC last year, the twins said that after they had completed their university education, they wanted to become teachers.

"We will teach using a projector and computers," they said.

People later remarked on their determination to acquire higher education qualifications regardless of a challenging system, which often found their condition hard to accommodate.

They were able to continue their studies as they grew older thanks in part to funding from local government and private donations.

Maria and Consolata, who were against the idea of being surgically separated, also told the BBC that they hoped to get married to one husband someday.

The two, whose parents died while they were still infants, were raised by the Catholic charity Maria Consolata, which had adopted and named them.

Last year, their high school graduation triggered a wave of congratulatory messages nationwide.

At least 22 people, including three children, have been killed in a bus crash in northern Uganda, police said.

The bus hit a tractor that was driving with no lights at night and then a truck, police spokeswoman Emilian Kayima told the AFP news agency.

The accident happened on Friday night in Kiryandongo, about 220km (140 miles) north of the capital Kampala.

"Evacuation teams are working tirelessly to rescue the injured," Ms Kayima said.

Some local media reports put the death toll higher than 30.

Uganda has among the world's worst road safety records. More than 9,500 people died in a road accident in the country between 2015 and 2017, according to official figures.

About 50 people have died after a boat capsized on a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo, officials say.

The vice-governor of Tshuapa province in the north of the country said the cause of the accident was not clear.

He said another 50 people had survived when the boat tipped over as it was travelling from Monkoto to Mbandaka.

River transport is common in DR Congo as there are few roads or railways, but vessels are often overloaded and accidents are frequent.

Mbandaka is also currently struggling with an outbreak of Ebola, with fears that it could spread from the city of one million to the capital, Kinshasa, via traders using the River Congo.

Tshuapa Vice-Governor Richard Mboyo Iluka told the AFP news agency that the boat had been travelling at night, which is illegal, and did not have lights.

Last month more than 40 people drowned when travelling to neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville.

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