Two female suicide bombers detonated explosives in a crowded market in Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri on Monday, leaving at least 20 people dead and others injured, residents and witnesses said.
“We have evacuated 20 dead from the scene,” Usman Tanimu, leader of a local vigilante group, said by phone from the Borno state capital. “Several others sustained injuries.”
Boko Haram Islamist militants are waging a six-year-old campaign of gun and bomb attacks to impose Islamic law, or Shariah, in Africa’s most populous country of more than 170 million people. The population in Africa’s biggest economy is roughly split between a mainly Muslim north and a largely Christian south.
The women got into the Baga market while many traders had gathered together to say the late afternoon Muslim prayer, according to Hassan Ibrahim, a resident and vigilante group member. “They detonated the bombs strapped on them a few meters apart,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office at the end of May after winning elections in March, vowed in his inaugural address to defeat Boko Haram, describing the group as “a mindless, godless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of.”