Originally published in The New York Times
Suicide bombers, some screaming “God is great,” killed at least 40 people in two northeastern Nigerian states Wednesday, including explosions in two mosques, officials and witnesses said. All the bombers died.
Earlier, Boko Haram Islamic extremists had attacked a rural military camp in northeastern Yobe state overnight but were repulsed by troops who killed at least 100 of the insurgents, army spokesman Col. Sani Usman said. Seven troops died in that fighting and nine were injured, he said.
Hours later, at around 6 a.m. when mosques are filled with the faithful performing early-morning prayers, two women suicide bombers struck in Damaturu, Yobe state’s commercial center.
“One of the suicide bombers gained entry into the mosque and detonated explosives and the other bomber was sighted roaming around the compound and (when) asked questions, she too detonated explosives,” said resident Ibrahim Musa.
In Damaturu, police Assistant Superintendent Toyin Gbagedesin said seven people died. Musa said he counted 15 bodies. There was no immediate way to reconcile the conflicting tolls.
Gbagedesin also reported a third attack by two male suicide bombers on a settlement of Fulani herders that he said killed 10 people.
At around the same time, two male suicide bombers blew themselves up inside a mosque in Gubio town of neighboring Borno state and killed at least 12 people, according to survivors who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions.
The extremists have stepped up attacks since President Muhammadu Buhari took office in May pledging to halt the 6-year-old Islamic uprising that has killed some 20 000 people, according to Amnesty International.
Attacks have spilled over into neighboring countries. Chadian authorities said a Boko Haram attack Tuesday near Chad’s border with Nigeria left 11 soldiers and 37 militants dead.