Female suicide bomber hits Nigerian barracks
ABUJA/MAIDUGURI Nigeria (Reuters) – A female suicide
bomber killed herself and a soldier outside an army
barracks in Nigeria’s northeastern city of Gombe on
Sunday, the military said, as local leaders reported the
death count from a string of earlier militant attacks had
No one claimed responsibility for the blast or last week’s
assaults but Islamist group Boko Haram has set off bombs
and killed thousands in its five-year-old bid to carve out
an Islamist state in the region.
Soldiers stopped the woman as she tried to get into the
barracks with explosives hidden under her robes, defence
headquarters said in a statement.
The device went off, killing her and a soldier searching her,
it added. “I heard a loud sound and then black smoke
covering the place … We saw soldiers moving bodies,”
Gombe trader Bello Kasuwankatako told Reuters.
Witnesses had earlier said between three and five people
Boko Haram – which dominated world headlines by
kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls in April – has fought
back against an army offensive, piling political pressure on
President Goodluck Jonathan and the military to end the
carnage. Leaders from Gombe’s neighbouring state of
Borno told journalists on Sunday they had now buried 110
bodies from attacks on nine villages early last week –
giving the first detailed breakdown on the casualties.
[ID:nL6N0OL43R] “It was a great tragedy. There are still
corpses lying in the bushes surrounding the communities.
Many of our people that fled to the top of the hills during
and after the attacks are still there and now stranded,”
said Ali Ndume, a senator representing southern Borno.
CIVILIANS EASY TARGETS Boko Haram started off focusing
on military and government targets alongside schools –
seen as representing corrupt Western influence – churches,
and Muslim leaders who do not follow its brand of Islam. It
has been increasingly turning its guns on civilians in
recent months, particularly after locals started setting up
vigilante groups to try and fight back.
It has become the biggest security threat to Africa’s
biggest economy and oil producer.
Traditional leader Lawan Abba Kaka said they had buried
42 corpses at the village of Attagara, 24 at Aganjara, 20 at
Agapalawa and smaller numbers at other settlements – all
of them in the Gwoza hills near the border with Cameroon.
“The insurgents came and said they wanted to discuss
something with us. They said we need to discuss some
issues bordering on our differences in the communities but
they opened fire on people who were gathered,” said Kaka.
On Wednesday, gunmen rounded up more villagers outside
Borno’s state capital Maiduguri saying they were going to
deliver a sermon, then opened fire, killing at least 42, said
a police source. [ID:nL6N0OM59C]
“It seems they are moving to rural areas,” Hannah Donges,
a researcher at the Small Arms Survey, told Reuters.
“They are easier targets … It doesn’t need sophisticated
tactics. It makes them (Boko Haram) less predictable.”
Suspected Boko Haram militants attacked a town in
Cameroon’s far north on Saturday but local security forces
fought them off, killing at least two gunmen, Cameroon’s
government said. The militant group is also thought to be
active in neighbouring Niger and Chad. [ID:nL5N0OP0CW]
The kidnapping of the girls from a secondary school in
Borno’s town of Chibok triggered a national and
international campaign under the Twitter hashtag
#BringBackOurGirls, calling on the government to step its
efforts to free them.
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