A female suicide bomber on July 17 killed at least eight people when she detonated explosives at a mosque in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri. The bombing is the latest in a spate of attacks by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram this month that have killed at least 43 people in the city.
Danbatta Bello, a spokesman for the civilian defense force, said two girls were strapped with explosives, but one got stuck in barbed wire in a ditch near the area. Bello said officials from the civilian defense force chased after the second girl.
“She rushed to the mosque and detonated the second bomb,” Bello said. “The first girl blew up where she was trapped.”
The explosion, which brought down the mosque, killed at least eight people and wounded 13. Bello said security officials killed two other female suicide bombers in another part of the city around the same time as the mosque attack.
The Nigerian military late last year said it had “crushed” the extremist group, but its sporadic attacks persist and have heightened in the past month.
On July 12, four suicide bombers killed 19 people and injured 23 others in Maiduguri when they first attacked civilian defense forces and then civilians who came out to mourn the dead. On July 3, Boko Haram militants raided the village of Ngalewa in southern Niger, 30 miles from the Nigerian border. Witnesses said the militants killed at least eight people and kidnapped about 40 women and children.
This week, Boko Haram released an unverified video of 10 kidnapped women calling on the government not to forget about them. The women were likely abducted in a June attack when the militants ambushed a 200-vehicle convoy on a highway connecting Maiduguri to the town of Damboa. Another video released earlier this month showed the public execution of eight men in northeastern Nigeria. Agence France-Presse reported one man who donned a white turban told the gathering villagers that the people facing execution were “apostates who have left the fold of Islam.” He warned the villagers of a similar fate should they defy the enforced Sharia law.
Martin Ewi, an analyst with South Africa–based Institute for Security Studies, confirmed terror attacks, especially in Maiduguri, have stepped up in the past month. Ewi said the killings signal that Boko Haram now has more opportunities to attack.
“It has either gathered strength, or the other party has relaxed,” he said, referring to a decline in security efforts in the area.
— by Onize Ohikere