A female suicide bomber blew herself up in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Saturday, killing three people and injuring several others, residents said.
The bombing in the city’s Dala Yazaram neighborhood happened a day after at least 55 people were killed in attacks in northeast Nigeria, where jihadist group Boko Haram is seeking to create a hardline Islamic state.
Although no group has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s blast, immediate suspicion fell on Boko Haram.
A local resident said he saw two female suicide bombers arrive in the area, but one was stopped by people nearby while the other blew herself up.
“Three people have been killed and many injured. One of the terrorists was arrested before she could detonate,” Shuaibu Umara, a security guard at a nearby petrol station, told AFP.
In a conflicting account, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said one person, a member of a civilian vigilante group assisting the military in the fight against Boko Haram, was killed and 10 injured in the blast.
NEMA spokesman Sani Datti said there had been four female suicide bombers who targeted Dala Ajeri but were intercepted by vigilantes.
“Three of the female suicide bombers detonated the explosions in their bodies immediately and the fourth one was intercepted but later died,” Datti said in a statement.
‘All of us are foot soldiers’
Maiduguri has now been hit seven times this month, killing 79 people, according to an AFP tally, underscoring an increased risk to civilians after similar strikes in neighboring states and near the capital Abuja.
On Friday, two explosions ripped through mosques in Maiduguri and nearby Yola, capital of Adamawa state, leaving at least 55 people dead and more than 100 injured.
The Yola explosion took place shortly after the imam had finished a sermon to inaugurate the new mosque.
Boko Haram has regularly targeted mosques and religious leaders who do not share their extremist ideology.
NEMA’s Adamawa coordinator Sa’ad Bello said Saturday the toll from the mosque attack had risen to 30 from 27 on Friday, with 93 others injured.
Residents said the interior was still littered with shoes, prayer mats and worshipers’ belongings.
Yola has been seen as a relatively safe haven from the Boko Haram insurgency, which has ravaged the northeast for the last six years, leaving at least 17,000 people dead and more than 2.5 million homeless.
President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a delegation to Adamawa and Borno states to express condolences and to stress the need for residents’ vigilance, his office said.
“In this new phase of the war, all of us are generals, all of us are foot soldiers, all of us are intelligence officers,” the statement quoted Buhari as saying.
Buhari has given his military commanders until December to end the insurgency.
The military has claimed a series of successes against the jihadists, saying Saturday that troops had destroyed Boko Haram camps and enclaves at the border towns of Kerenowa and Chikun Gudu as well as neighboring villages in Borno state.
“During the operation which is ongoing, troops discovered and destroyed over 20 well fortified terrorist camps in the general area of Kerenowa,” the army said.