Girl suicide bomber kills five in Nigeria, 19 in suffer injuries
POTISKUM (Nigeria): A girl suicide bomber blew self up and
killed five others on Sunday in an attack on a market in the northeastern
Nigerian city of Potiskum, witnesses and a hospital source said.
Nineteen others who sustained various degrees of injuries
were taken to hospital after the blast in Potiskum, Yobe state’s commercial
capital, a local vigilante leader told AFP.
“So far, five people were killed with the girl while 19
others have been taken to hospital for injuries,” Buba Lawan said.
A hospital source speaking on condition of anonymity
confirmed the toll of the dead and the wounded. The attack occurred at around
1.30 pm (1230 GMT) during peak hours of business, traders said.
Witnesses said she appeared to be as young as seven-years-old
and was the latest in a string of child suicide bombers in Nigeria. Previous
such attacks have been blamed on Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.
The attack again highlighted the severe security challenges
facing Nigeria in the run up to March 28 presidential and parliamentary
President Goodluck Jonathan is in a tough re-election bid
against ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari in the vote, initially scheduled for
The military pushed for the six-week delay eventually granted
by the electoral commission to give it time to secure the country even though
the insurgency has raged for six years.
Sunday's incident was the second such suicide attack around
the same market, where new and second-hand phones are sold and repaired.
The first attack occurred January 11, when two suicide
bombers, one of them appearing to be around 15 years old, blew themselves up
outside the market. The attack killed six and injured 37 others.
In Sunday's attack, suspicious security guards and vigilantes
said they had sought to prevent the girl from entering the market. “We sent her
back four times, because given her age, she did not have anything to do in the
market,” Lawan said.
“When we were screening people, she bent and tried to pass
under the ropes, some distance from our view. That was when the explosives went
In a sign of how much distrust has been generated over the
suicide bombings, Lawan said that “since the January suicide bomb attacks, we
have barred women from entering the market to prevent further attacks.”
Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, all located in northeastern
Nigeria, have witnessed dozens of attacks since Boko Haram intensified its
campaign in the region in the past two years.
Jonathan said in an interview published on Sunday that he
underestimated the Islamists, who have overrun swathes of the northeast.
Boko Haram has recently extended its bloody campaign to
neighbouring countries across Nigeria's northeastern border as regional forces
Over 13,000 have been killed while more than one million people have
been left homeless since 2009 as the rebels try to carve out an Islamic state
in Nigeria’s northeast.