Fe­male sui­cide bomber kills 20 in Maiduguri, Nige­ria

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY AMINU ABUBAKAR

At least 20 peo­ple were killed Mon­day when a young fe­male sui­cide bomber det­o­nated her ex­plo­sives at a bus sta­tion in Maiduguri, north­east Nige­ria, in an at­tack likely to be blamed on Boko Haram.

The blast hap­pened near a fish mar­ket in the Baga Road area of the city, which has been re­peat­edly tar­geted in re­cent weeks by shelling, bombs and sui­cide at­tacks.

“We heard a loud ex­plo­sion at about 3: 50 p. m. ( 1450 GMT) while we were pre­par­ing for af­ter­noon prayers,” said Dan­lami Ajaokuta, a civil­ian vig­i­lante as­sist­ing the mil­i­tary against Boko Haram.

“It hap­pened right in­side the mo­tor park ( bus sta­tion) at­tached to the fish mar­ket where la­bor­ers were sort­ing out rice.”

He said that ac­cord­ing to sur­vivors’ ac­counts, a woman came into the bus sta­tion with a casse­role dish, shout­ing out for cus­tomers.

“Sud­denly,

the

casse­role, which ob­vi­ously con­tained ex­plo­sives, went off. She was blown to pieces ... We have sorted out 20 dead bod­ies and 50 oth­ers that were in­jured.”

Ajaokuta’s ac­count was sup­ported by a la­borer work­ing at the scene who sur­vived the blast, which sent peo­ple run­ning in all di­rec­tions in fear and panic.

“The res­cue op­er­a­tion is still on, so the death toll may be higher at the end,” said the la­borer, who asked not iden­ti­fied.

The po­lice how­ever gave a lower toll of 10 killed, as well as the two fe­male sui­cide bombers.

“Twelve peo­ple died in­clud­ing the bombers and many oth­ers in­jured,” state po­lice com­mis­sioner Aderemi Opadokun told re­porters.

Re­ports from Maiduguri in­di­cated that the first bomber was a girl aged about 17 but there was no im­me­di­ate con­fir­ma­tion of her age.

There were also in­di­ca­tions of a sec­ond bomb­ing by a girl about the same age out­side the bus sta­tion but no one was hurt.

There was no i mme­di­ate claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity but Boko Haram ex­trem­ists have fre­quently tar­geted civil­ians at mar­kets and bus sta­tions dur­ing their six- year in­sur­gency.

The Is­lamist bombers have also used young women and girls as hu­man bombs since the mid­dle of last year, as part of a cam­paign of terror in the restive north­east and be­yond.

Maiduguri, the cap­i­tal of Bor-

to be no state, has in­creas­ingly come un­der at­tack in the weeks since new Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari took of­fice on May 29, vow­ing to wipe out the Is­lamists.

Mon­day’s bomb­ing takes the num­ber of at­tacks in the city to five this month. Three have been by sui­cide bombers and one tar­geted a cat­tle mar­ket.

On June 3, an im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice left out­side a me­chan­ics’ work­shop on the Baga Road killed 18 while on May 30, 26 peo­ple were killed in a sui­cide at­tack at a city mosque.

With the latest at­tack, some 200 peo­ple have been killed since Buhari’s in­au­gu­ra­tion, ac­cord­ing to AFP re­port­ing.

Nige­ria and its mil­i­tary coali­tion part­ners of Niger, Chad and Cameroon have claimed a se­ries of suc­cesses against Boko Haram since Fe­bru­ary, push­ing the rebels out of cap­tured ter­ri­tory.

But its re­turn to guer­rilla tac­tics aimed at “soft tar­gets” is a sign that the in­sur­gency, which has cost at least 15,000 lives, is not over, ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts.

AP

De­bris at the site of a sui­cide bomb at­tack at a mar­ket can be seen in Maiduguri, Nige­ria, Mon­day June 22.

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