Twenty two persons were yesterday killed by female suicide bombers suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents in Ummarari village near Molai, in the outskirts of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The attack occurred about 5:30 am when two women disguised as men blew themselves up during morning prayers at a mosque in the village.
Army authorities, who confirmed the attack, said the first explosion targeted a mosque, while the second blast occurred few minutes later about 50 metres away.
A statement by Army spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman, also confirmed that 18 others sustained various degrees of injuries from the incidents, but Borno State Emergency Management Agency spokesman, Abdullahi Omar put the figures of injured persons at 35.
Molai district of the city has been repeatedly targeted in the past by Boko Haram insurgents, as on January 31, at least 85 people were killed when insurgents attacked Dalori, some 12 kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
The city itself was last attacked on November 22 last year when a female suicide bomber blew herself up among a crowd of women and children seeking sanctuary from the rural town of Dikwa.
Col. Usman’s statement revealed that, “Troops, security agents and care givers have been mobilised to scene, while the wounded have been evacuated to Molai General Hospital for treatment.”
He confirmed that the troops, security agents and the Civilian JTF have secured the area and are combing the environment for possible clues.
The army colonel, who commiserated with the families of the victims, reassured the public of the army’s determination to rout remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists wherever they may be hiding, stressing that, “We will not rest on our oars until all those that masterminded this latest heinous and other similar crimes are apprehended and brought to justice.”
He further implored members of the public to be more security conscious, cooperate with the troops and security agencies, urging them to always report any suspicious persons, objects or happenings around them to troops or other security agencies.
Borno State Emergency Management Agency spokesman, Abdullahi Omar, who also confirmed the attack to AFP said, “There was an explosion in the mosque in Molai on the outskirts of the city. We’re waiting for our response team to be back and then give us the details before we can issue any statement.”
But a source at the agency added: “This morning, just before prayers, two women disguised as men came by the mosque. One of them went in and joined the first row of the congregation and when the worshippers stood up for the prayers she detonated her explosives, killing several worshippers. While the others were trying to flee, the second woman, who stood outside the mosque, rushed in and set off her explosives in their midst. Rescue is still ongoing but so far, 22 people have been confirmed dead and 35 others injured.”
The source, who asked for anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to the media, said survivors of the attack and evidence from the rescue operation identified the bombers as women.
The attack bore all the hallmarks of Boko Haram Islamists, who have regularly hit “soft” civilian targets such as mosques, markets and bus stations, including with female suicide bombers.
Maiduguri, where the group was formed in 2002, has been relatively calm in recent months as a result of heavy security and sustained counter-offensive against the militants last year.
Nigeria has said the rebels, whose insurgency has left at least 17,000 dead since 2009, have been “technically” defeated, despite continued attacks in Borno state and neighbouring Cameroun.

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