At least 15 people have been killed after two female suicide bombers, one said to be aged as young as 11, blew themselves up at a busy mobile phone market in north-east Nigeria, a day after more than 30 were killed in a bomb blast.
Two explosions ripped through the Farm Centre market in northern Nigeria’s biggest city, Kano, shortly after 4pm on Wednesday. One of the bombers was said to be aged just 11 and the other 18.
The Islamist terror group Boko Haram has previously used young girls as human bombs in its six-year insurgency in north-east Nigeria, which has left at least 17,000 dead and made more than 2.6 million homeless.
In July 2014, Kano was hit four times in the space of a week by a spate of young female suicide bombers, whom experts say are unlikely to be willing participants to the carnage.
“A minibus carrying some women came to the Farm Centre GSM market and dropped off one girl aged about 11 and another aged about 18, both wore the hijab,” said a Kano police spokesman.
“One went inside the market, the other stayed outside. Then they exploded, killing themselves and others nearby,” he told AFP.
“The victims were taken to hospital and it was later confirmed that 15 people died, not including the suicide bombers.”
The attacks came after at least 32 people were killed in a bomb blast in Yola, north-east Nigeria, on Tuesday night that also bore the hallmarks of the Islamist rebels.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who has given his military commanders until next month to crush the militants, described both attacks as “barbaric” and “cowardly”.
He called for increased vigilance to stop further attacks against “soft” targets and said the government was “very much determined to wipe out Boko Haram in Nigeria” and bring perpetrators to book.
“Nigeria’s reinvigorated, well-equipped and well-motivated armed forces and security agencies [will] overcome Boko Haram very soon,” he added.
Nafiu Mohammed, a market trader, said he was preparing for afternoon prayers when he heard an explosion “deep inside” the popular market.
“Police officers from a nearby police station mobilised to the scene while traders in confusion locked up their shops and moved out of the market,” he said.
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