Female Suicide Bomber Kills 10 in a Nigerian Region Racked by Islamist Violence
DAMATURU, Nigeria — A suicide bomber blew herself up at a crowded bus station in this northeastern Nigerian city on Sunday, killing 10 people and wounding 30, the police said. Damaturu is in a region that is frequently attacked by Islamist militants.
Adamu Muhammad, a witness, said he heard a blast before the people at the bus station “descended into panic.”
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which bore the hallmarks of the Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram, whose use of female suicide bombers has been an emerging trend over the past year.
According to a report by The Associated Press, the bomber somehow made it through a security check at the entrance to the station and detonated her explosive at 1 p.m. local time. The report quoted a witness as saying that the bomber appeared to be about 16.
On Saturday, heavily armed Boko Haram militants tried to overrun the northeastern Nigerian city of Gombe but were repelled.
The group’s violent campaign for an Islamic state has killed thousands, has destabilized the northeast of Nigeria and is increasingly spilling over into Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Those nations are now fighting back in a regional effort to crush the militant group.
The insurgency has also cast doubt on the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan, who is seen as not having done enough to contain the extremists or to protect civilians, hundreds of whom have been kidnapped, including scores of schoolgirls.
A week ago, Nigeria, which has Africa’s biggest economy, postponed for six weeks a national election that had been set for Saturday, citing the security threat from Boko Haram. The move, in which the election was rescheduled for March 28, rattled markets and foreign investors.
Mr. Jonathan’s rival in the election, the former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, is seen as the tougher of the two on the security issue, having quelled an Islamist uprising in the 1980s.
Before the Gombe attack, the militants warned people not to participate in the elections or risk being killed, according to a leaflet obtained by Reuters from a local resident.
The Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, has said repeatedly that democracy is un-Islamic.