Nigerian Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 7 in Northeast Market

A suicide bomber killed at least seven people after she set off explosives at a busy market in the northeast Nigerian town of Biu on Thursday.

At least 15 people were also injured, Yau Mohammed, a witness who helped take victims to the hospital after the blast, said by phone from Biu. The woman was seen trying to plant a bomb at about 3:30 p.m., Ibrahim Haruna, a militia group spokesman, said by phone from the town in Borno state.

Traders at the market “were not too sure what she was trying to plant, but they suspected that it could be an explosive device,” Haruna said by phone.

No group immediately claimed the attack. Islamist militants Boko Haram have been battling for six years to establish Islamic law in Africa’s largest economy. The insurgents have killed more than 4,700 people, mainly in the north, last year, double the number who died in 2013, according to estimates from Bath, U.K.- based risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

President Goodluck Jonathan said he expects the defeat of Boko Haram Islamist militants within weeks with newly acquired weapons and the cooperation of neighboring countries. Nigeria’s election commission on Feb. 7 moved national and state elections back by six weeks, citing concerns that there won’t be adequate security for voting as the army steps up its offensive in the northeast.

“Watch out for the next three weeks,” Jonathan said Wednesday in a live interview on NTA, a state-owned television channel. “We’ve gotten substantial quantities of weapons. We’re now working with our neighbors who were not too committed initially.”

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