Two female suicide bombers killed 13 people at a crowded market and a military checkpoint outside the biggest city in northeast Nigeria, witnesses said Friday.

 It is the fourth attack in a week in which at least 162 people have been killed, including four suicide bombers, as Boko Haram Islamic extremists appear to obey an Islamic State group order to step up attacks in the holy month of Ramadan. Nigeria’s homegrown extremist group became the IS group’s West Africa franchise earlier this year.

In the most deadly attack, the militants targeted several mosques in Kukawa town on Wednesday, gunning down nearly 100 praying worshippers. Kukawa is 180 kilometers (110 miles) northeast of Maiduguri, the biggest city in the northeast.

The militants, who want to impose their strict version of Shariah law across Nigeria, often defile mosques where clerics preach against their extremism. While they also have attacked churches, many more Muslims are among an estimated 13,000 people killed in the 6-year-old Islamic uprising. Amnesty International puts the toll at 17,000 dead. Another 1.5 million people have been driven from their homes.


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