The medical director of Potiskum General Hospital, Donatua Muna, who disclosed this, said that dead bodies were brought to the hospital with bullet wounds as well as machete cuts and burns.
A nurse at Potiskum hospital who received bodies of the slayed cattle traders told Reuters news agency that the number of those killed in the attack could be well over 56.
“I have counted 56 bodies at the morgue and I am sure that the death toll could rise in view of the serious nature of injuries sustained,” the nurse, who gave his name as Babangida, said.
“The Potiskum mortuary is made up of a room and a parlour and I counted the 56 in the parlour only. I didn’t go into the inner room.”
Witness Mama Yusuf, a retired civil servant, said there were dead bodies on the ground, though he could not say how many.
“I saw dead bodies all around the place and the emergency services taking people to hospitals,” he said.
The Yobe State police spokesman, Toyin Gbadegesin said that the attack which took place on Wednesday night appeared to be in reprisal for an incident earlier in the day, when a gang of robbers who sought to rob the market were fought off by traders who caught and killed one of the attackers.
“A group of gunmen armed with around 20 explosives and assault rifles attacked the cattle market,” an eyewitness said.
He said that the attackers threw explosives and shot indiscriminately, setting fire to the market, killing lots of livestock and wounding many people, mostly cattle dealers.
Residents described a terrifying scene at the market usually crowded with traders, with scores of cattle burnt, the market razed and dozens of people killed.
One resident said that fire-fighters were at the scene on Thursday morning searching water wells for fears that residents had fallen in and drowned while trying to flee.