KANO, Nigeria, March 25, (AFP): Nigerian troops on Friday killed two female suicide bombers outside the northeastern town of Maiduguri, the scene of a twin suicide attack in a mosque last week that killed 25 worshippers, vigilantes said. The two bombers were spotted by civilian vigilantes assisting the military against Boko Haram at Molai around 1:00 am, vigilante Babakura Kolo told AFP. “When the vigilantes flashed their torchlights on them and demanded to know their identities, one of the women detonated her explosives while the other one ran and hid in an abandoned building,” he said. He said soldiers rushed to the scene on hearing the explosion where they joined the vigilantes in searching for the other bomber. She was found holed up in the building and the soldiers “shot and killed her because she was trying to set off her explosives”, said Kolo, whose account was supported by Musa Ari, another vigilante.
Molai, which lies six kilometres (2.5 miles) from Maiduguri, has been repeatedly attacked by Boko Haram. On March 16 two female suicide bombers disguised as male worshippers struck at a mosque in the area during morning prayers, killing 25 people and injuring more than 32 others.
Boko Haram has been carrying out suicide bombings often using female bombers and girls as part of its more than six-year armed campaign to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. The violence has claimed 17,000 lives and displaced 2.6 million from their homes. In another incident, Boko Harman gunmen have abducted 16 women in a remote area of northeast Nigeria’s Adamawa state, police, a lawmaker and locals told AFP. “We received report of the kidnap of 14 women and two girls by gunmen believed to be Boko Haram insurgents near Sabon Garin Madagali village”, said Adamawa state police spokesman Othman Abubakar. “We have sent search teams to the area and have notified the military who have also deployed personnel for search and rescue operation in the bush to free the hostages.”
Adamu Kamale, who represents the area in Nigeria’s lower chamber of parliament, the House of Representatives, also confirmed the abduction, which happened on Wednesday. Locals said the hostages were seized in the bush while fetching firewood and fishing in a nearby river under the escort of two civilian vigilantes assisting the military against the Islamist insurgents. “When the civilian vigilantes escorting the women saw the heavily armed Boko Haram fighters advancing on them they fl ed, leaving the women to their fate,” said Madagali resident Garba Barnabas.
Two women who escaped by jumping into the river and pretending to have drowned later returned to the village to raise the alarm, he added. Madagali district, which lies on the border with Borno state, has been repeatedly attacked by Boko Haram during its nearly seven-year insurgency, which has left more than 17,000 people dead. Human rights groups have said fighters have kidnapped thousands of women and young girls, including more than 200 schoolgirls who were abducted from the Borno town of Chibok nearly two years ago.