At least 16 people are dead in the northeastern city of Maiduguri in Nigeria after a suicide bombing by a 10-year-old girl.
A 10-year-old girl has killed at least 16 people in the city of Maiduguri, in northeastern Nigeria, after explosives she was carrying were detonated. The young girl was not believed to have known that she was carrying the bomb.
The explosion hit the market just after 12pm local time when it was filled with shoppers and traders. The same marked had been targeted by two female suicide bombers last year.
Civilian vigilante Ashiru Mustapha said the bomb detonated as the child was being searched at the entrance to the market.
“The girl was about 10-years-old. I doubt much if she actually knew what was strapped to her body,” he told press, “In fact, she was searched at the entrance of the market and the metal detector indicated that she was carrying something. But sadly, the explosion went off before she was isolated, killing at least 10 people and injuring many others.”
The official death toll stands at 16, but it is expected that it could raise to 20 – with around 18 people believed to have been injured, some critically.
Borno State police spokesman Gideon Jubrin told local reporters, “It is belived that casualty figures are now: up to 20 dead and 18 injured, including the female suicide bomber that detonated the improvised explosive device.”
“The blast split the suicide bomber into two and flung one part across the road” eyewitness Abubakar Bakura said, “Among the dead are two vigilantes who were searching the girl. I am pretty sure the bomb was remotely controlled.”
No group has so far claimed responsibility, but Boko Haram militants have been known to use young girls as human bombs – remotely detonating the explosives on the person, without them ever being aware of the danger they posed to those around them – in the past.