Two Suicide Bombers Hit Nigeria Phone Market as Attacks Escalate

Two female suicide bombers set off explosives near a mobile phone market in the northeast Nigerian town of Potiskum a day after a girl who witnesses said may have been as young as 10 killed at least 20 people.

The women killed at least one person and injured 43, Yobe state Police Commissioner Marcus Danladi said today by phone from the region’s capital, Damaturu. The explosions happened at about 3:30 p.m. local time, after they arrived on a motorized tricycle, said Baba Goni, a trader at the market.

“One of them alighted and detonated her bomb while the other that was waiting in the vehicle detonated hers,” Goni said by phone.

Authorities in Africa’s largest economy are struggling to stem raids and bombings by Boko Haram, which has killed more than 13,000 people since 2009. Violence in the predominantly Muslim north is rising as Nigeria prepares for next month’s presidential vote. President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the southern oil-rich Niger delta region, will face Muslim northerner and former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari on Feb. 14. Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer.

Yesterday, a bomb exploded at a police station in Potiskum killing at least two. In Maiduguri, there was a suicide bombing by a girl as young as 10 years old, Isa Ahmed, a member of a local militia who helped the injured, said in an interview.

The insurgents are increasing their use of female bombers in their campaign to impose Islamic rule on Africa’s most populous nation of more than 170 million people. A 13-year-old girl refused to detonate a bomb in another incident on Dec. 10 in northern Nigeria’s largest city Kano after two others set off explosives in a textile market. The girl later said her father had recruited her to fight for Boko Haram.