Schoolgirl suicide bombers kill 56 in Nigerian market

YOLA/BAUCHI (Nigeria) • Two schoolgirl suicide bombers have killed 56 people and wounded dozens more in a coordinated attack on a crowded market in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Madagali.

Friday's bombings bore the hallmark of Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has been waging an insurgency to set up a state adhering to a strict interpretation of Muslim laws in the north-east.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Mr Yusuf Mohammed, chairman of the local district government, said the bombings left 56 people dead and wounded 57. "The two bombers, who (were) disguised as customers, detonated their suicide belts at the section of the market selling grains and second- hand clothing," he said.

Major Badare Akintoye, a spokesman for an army unit in the nearby town of Mubi, said the attackers were two schoolgirls.

Boko Haram has frequently targeted crowded areas in suicide bomb attacks across north-east Nigeria and in neighbouring Cameroon and Niger. The militant group has killed about 15,000 people and forced over two million people to flee their homes.

Nigeria's army has pushed the militant group back to its stronghold in the vast Sambisa forest in the past few months.

While last Friday's market attack highlighted Boko Haram's ability to strike civilians in urban areas, the frequency at which the group does so has reduced.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 11, 2016, with the headline 'Schoolgirl suicide bombers kill 56 in Nigerian market'. Print Edition | Subscribe