Two girls said to be aged seven or eight have been used to bomb a market in Maiduguri, in north-east Nigeria, killing at least one other person and wounding 18. Both girls were killed as they detonated their explosives minutes apart, witnesses said. Police said the attacks happened when the market was crowded.
In the past few months, the Nigerian army has made gains against the Boko Haram Islamist group, but it still carries out regular bombings.
Two separate attacks were previously carried out by two female suicide bombers in Maiduguri on 29 Oct. A Church of Christ in Nigeria pastor was among seven killed. Those twin blasts were the second incident in the same month, raising fears of an upsurge of suicide attacks, which had been a regular occurrence in the city considered the birthplace of the Boko Haram insurgency.
As World Watch Monitor has reported, one Nigerian town in the news a lot for suicide bombs was Potiskum in Yobe State. There were at least three suicide bombs there within weeks in 2015. During one, on 24 February, a man killed 15 and injured 53. Two days earlier, six people in a market were killed by a young female suicide bomber.
Pastor Daniel Awayi of Potiskum visited the UK in January 2015. His church had then been attacked five times by Boko Haram, the most recent just before his visit when a young female suicide bomber detonated a bomb at his church gates.
The recourse to young female suicide bombers has become Boko Haram’s modus operandi in north-east Nigeria and neighbouring countries. The UN says more than 50 children were coerced to carry out suicide bombings across Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon between January and June this year.
A report published in October shed new light on the role of female militants among the radical Islamist group. Female members are almost as likely as men to be deployed as fighters, challenging a widespread perception that these women are mainly used as cooks and sex slaves. Last week, the International Crisis Group published another report, “Nigeria: Women and the Boko Haram insurgency”.