Thirty people were killed late Sunday in a triple suicide bombing in northeast Nigeria, emergency services reported, in an attack bearing the hallmarks of the Boko Haram jihadist group.

Three bombers detonated their explosives outside a hall in Konduga, 38 kilometres from the Borno state capital Maiduguri, where football fans were watching a match on TV.

“The death toll from the attack has so far increased to 30. We have over 40 people injured,” Usman Kachalla, head of operations at the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said on Monday.

An earlier toll from the blasts, the bloodiest in months, gave 17 dead and 17 wounded.

The attack happened around 9:00 pm, Ali Hassan, the leader of a self-defence group in the town, said.

The owner of the hall prevented one of the bombers from entering the packed venue.

“There was a heated argument between the operator and the bomber who blew himself up,” Hassan said by phone.

Two other bombers, who had mingled among the crowd at a tea stall nearby, also detonated their suicide vests.

Hassan said most of the victims were from outside the soccer viewing centre.

“Nine people died on the spot, including the operator, and 48 were injured,” Hassan said.

Kachala said the high number of fatalities was because emergency responders had been unable to reach the site of the blast quickly.

Nor were they equipped to deal with large numbers of wounded people.

“Lack of an appropriate health facility to handle such a huge emergency situation and the delay in obtaining security clearance to enable us to deploy from Maiduguri in good time led to the high death toll,” he said.