2 Teen Female Bombers Kill MoreThan 40 in Nigeria
AP, By HARUNA UMAR/CHIKA ODUAH
NOVEMBER 25, 2014
BAUCHI, NIGERIA (AP) —The teenage girls entered the busy marketplace separately Tuesday, their vests ofexplosives hidden beneath their full hijabs.
The first detonated her bomb, killing three women. As rescuers rushed in, the second girl screamed and setoff her explosives, killing dozens more, according to witnesses and authorities.
Suspicion immediately fell on the insurgents from the Islamic militant group BOKO HARAM, WHICHCONTROLS A LARGE PART OF NORTHEASTERN NIGERIA AND IS BLAMED FOR THE DEATHS THIS YEAROF AT LEAST 1,500 PEOPLE IN AFRICA’S MOST POPULOUS COUNTRY.
In its campaign of violence, Boko Haram has used car bombs and men wearing vests of explosives. It alsohas begun using women who can cover the explosives with their hijabs, and the recruits appear to have gottenyounger, with several instances of teenage attackers earlier this year.
The militants attracted international attention with their April kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls fromChibok, about 125 kilometers (78 miles) southwest of Maiduguri. The schoolgirls are still missing and their plighthas aroused international concern and prompted the “BringBackOurGirls” social media campaign.
On Oct. 17, the parents of the schoolgirls were encouraged when the Nigerian military announced a cease-firewith Boko Haram and said negotiations had begun for the release of the captives.Those hopes were quickly DASHED when Boko Haram fighters continued attacks and seized several citiesand towns across the northeast. In a video statement, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau denied the cease-fireand scoffed at claims of negotiations to release the schoolgirls.
It was not known if Tuesday’s attackers were connected with the April abduction. A worker with a non-governmental organization said young women in northern Nigeria are especially vulnerable to recruitmentby the extremist group. The worker spoke on condition of anonymity because she feared for her safety.
The coordinated bombings by the two girls dressed in full hijabs took place as the marketplace was crowdedwith shoppers, said Abba Aji Kalli, the coordinator of the Civilian Joint Task Force in Borno state.
The first girl set off her explosives, while the second apparently waited until the rescuers rushed in to helpbefore detonating her bomb, killing another 30 people, Kalli said.
On July 2, a car bomb in the same market killed 56 people.
Maiduguri, the largest city in Borno state and the birthplace of Boko Haram five years ago, is home to aNigerian military head-quarters. So far, the government troops have been unable to halt the bloodshed in the cityand surrounding areas.
Borno is one of the three states in northeastern Nigeria that is under a state of emergency because of theextremist violence.
In a new strategy, Boko Haram is seeking to form a caliphate, mimicking the Islamic State group.
Boko Haram still holds many centers in an area covering an estimated 20,000 square kilometers (7,700 squaremiles) and has said it is imposing a strict version of Shariah law. The insurgents want to impose Islamic rule overall Nigeria, whose 170 million people are about evenly divided between Christians and Muslims.