The Nigerian police say multiple bomb attacks have claimed the lives of at least 19 people and wounded about two dozen others in the country’s troubled northeast.
Police said on Wednesday that the deadly attacks were carried out in the city of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, on Tuesday night.
Borno state police commissioner Damian Chukwu said 12 of the dead were members of a civilian self-defense force and the other seven were killed when they gathered to mourn them. At least 23 others were wounded in the fatal attack, he added.
Danbatta Bello, a spokesman for the self-defense force, said at least one of the bombers was female. He said the bombers specifically targeted his colleagues while they were on duty.
“A teenage female suicide bomber actually crept to the sandbag post of our boys at Molai and before they could realize what was happening she detonated herself and killed three of our boys,” the Associated Press quoted Bello said as saying.
“That happened simultaneously with the one that occurred at the tea vendor’s, where seven of our members who took their time off to eat their dinner were killed,” he said.
Media reports said mourning residents were preparing the bodies of the victims for burial.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the latest attacks but they have the hallmark of the Boko Haram Takfiri terrorist group, as it in the past employed radicalized women on multiple occasions to conduct bombings against people or army troops.
In recent weeks, a number of bomb attacks by suspected members of Boko Haram have taken place in the capital of Borno state and its environs.
In December 2016, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in 2015 with a pledge to eradicate Boko Haram, announced that the army had “crushed” the terror group a day earlier by retaking its last key bastion, deep inside the thick Sambisa Forest in Borno.
The group has, however, resorted to sporadic shooting attacks and bombings in the northeast of the African country, spreading panic among local residents.
Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and abducted thousands of others.
Northeastern Nigeria is part of what the United Nations has called the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in more than 70 years, with the World Food Program estimating that more than 4.5 million people in the region need emergency food assistance.
The United Nations has warned that areas affected by Boko Haram face a humanitarian crisis.
By Africafrique and agencies