KANO, Nigeria (AFP) – Two female suicide bombers struck at a busy market in Nigeria on Friday (Dec 9), killing at least 30 people, the military said, in the latest bloodshed to hit the country’s restive north-east.
The attack on Madagali, which was recaptured by Nigerian forces from Boko Haram militants in 2015, was the third time the town has been targeted since December last year when two female suicide bombers killed scores.
“At least 30 people have been killed in the suicide blasts carried out by two female suicide bombers in the market,” military spokesman major Badare Akintoye told AFP.
“Several people have been injured in the attack,” said Akintoye by phone from a military base in the town of Mubi, 100km away.
A local government official and the National Emergency Management Agency (Nema) confirmed the attack.
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, the blasts bore all the hallmarks of Boko Haram, which regularly uses women and young girls to carry out suicide attacks in its seven-year insurgent campaign in the troubled region.
“The two bombers who (were) disguised as customers, detonated their suicide belts at the section of the market selling grains and second-hand clothing,” said Yusuf Muhammad, the chairman of Madagali local government.
“We still don’t have the exact number of those injured but they are many.” Market trader Habu Ahmad said the blasts happened around 9.30am (4.30pm Singapore time).
“It was dead bodies and wounded people in the midst of blood, spilt grains and abandoned personal effects,” he said.
Ibrahim Abdulkadir, Nema spokesman for the northeast, said rescuers had been deployed to the scene.
“We heard there was a twin-blast in a market at Madagali this morning. Our men are on (the) ground evacuating the victims,” he told AFP. “We still don’t have details of casualties.”
He said security agents had cordoned off the scene of the explosions.
President Buhari had told a security conference in Senegal on Wednesday that the situation in the region was “under control”.
Boko Haram is seeking to impose a hardline Islamic legal system on Nigeria’s mainly-Muslim north. Its campaign of violence has killed at least 20,000 people and displaced some 2.6 million since 2009.
Nigeria’s military campaign against the jihadists is increasingly bogged down as it confronts suicide attacks, looting and indiscriminate slaughter.
The United Nations has warned that the affected region faces the “largest crisis in Africa”.
The UN estimates that 14 million people will need outside help in 2017 because of the ongoing violence, particularly in Borno State, the epicentre of the rebellion.