From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri, Molly Kilete, Abuja and Tony Osauzo, Benin
TWO female bombers, one of them a nursing mother, yesterday sneaked into a mosque and detonated explosive devices at a remote community near Maiduguri, Borno capital, killing no fewer than 24 people.
Officials put the population of those injured in the twin blasts at 32.
One of the bombers reportedly disguised as a male worshipper to gain entry into the Central Mosque, Molai- Ummarari, some six kilometres to the city centre at about 5.38 am, Executive Chairman, Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Ahmed Satomi disclosed.
“Almost all the worshippers died except the Imam who is receiving treatment in the hospital now,” Satomi said.
Residents said the second bomber who was standing under the tree near the mosque when the explosion occurred, suddenly started crying for help as if she was a victim of the mosque blast. “She fell down suddenly and some women rushed toward her. Some of the women were even struggling to carry the baby on her back unknown to them she was a bomber. She detonated the explosive, killing all the women, about six of them,” Mohammed Aji told Daily Sun.
Army spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman while confirming the attack, the first in Borno State since the one that killed about 50 persons at an IDPS camp in Dikwa, a town 85km away from Maiduguri, noted that the attack was carried out by two female suicide bombers who planted Improvised Explosive Devise (IED), on their bodies. He said THE bombers actually targeted a mosque in their first attack and another crowded area in their second attack, which exploded about 50 metres away from their actual attack.
“The first attack targeted a mosque, while the second blast occurred about 50 metres away, a few minutes later. Sadly, 22 people were killed and 18 others sustained various injuries,” he disclosed in the statement.
Usman said troops, security agents and care givers were mobilised to the scene, adding that those wounded have been taken to Molai General Hospital, some 500 metres away. “Troops, security agents and Civilian JTF have secured the area and are combing the environment for possible clues,” he said.
Sources at the state Specialists hospital said nine injured victims of the blast were on admission.
Gov Kashim Shettima who was at the community on a sympathy visit advised the people to take their security seriously. He also directed the drilling of bore-hole for the people to address the challenge of water scarcity.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai, has reacted to the twin bomb attack saying it was an indication that members of Boko Haram group were struggling to survive.
Speaking during a working visit to the headquarters of 4 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Benin, yesterday, General Buratai lamented that it was unfortunate that young innocent girls were being sent to kill themselves.
He observed that those carrying out attacks were the last remnants of Boko Haram insurgency, assuring that efforts were on to bring an end to insurgency in the country.
“What, what happened today (Wednesday) is not unexpected because these people are struggling to survive and these are the last remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists. And as you know very well, they are sending innocent young girls to go and kill themselves. It is unfortunate.
“Their (Boko Haram) end is near definitely. But terrorism, in itself, is not something that you just wish away just like that; it requires a lot of intelligence, lot of painstaking measures so that we will be able to take care of it. They are within us, within the society and, at any point, they will sneak out and go and commit their crimes. So, it requires a lot of intelligence, and a lot of painstaking measures to completely end it,” he said.
In continuation of the clearance operations of remnants of Boko Haram terrorists’ reported locations and hideouts by the military, troops of 120 Task Force Battalion has reportedly cleared the camp at Bulasari.
This is coming after clearing Golgore camp on Tuesday.
During the operation, a number of the Boko Haram terrorists were said to have been killed while a soldier sustained gunshot wound. The solder is currently being treated at Damaturu General Hospital.
One of the most significant aspects of the operation was the recovery of Nigerian Army Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) earlier captured by the terrorists during an attack on Buni Yadi on July 9, 2015.
The APC was discovered at Golgore River line and it has since been evacuated