Teen kills at least 15 in northern Nigeria
ATEENAGE girl blew herself up at a crowded bus station in a northeastern Nigerian town yesterday, killing at least 15 people and wounding 53 in the second such attack there this week.
No one claimed responsibility for the bombing in Potiskum but the main suspect is likely to be the militant group Boko Haram, whose struggle for an Islamic state in religiously mixed Nigeria has killed thousands of people in the past six years and displaced more than a million.
Witness Musa Ayuba, who was knocked over by the force of the blast, said the girl arrived at the Tashan Dan Borno bus station in a rickshaw and was trying to board a bus when she detonated the bomb.
A security source confirmed the blast and a hospital source said 15 bodies had so far been brought in and 53 people were receiving treatment for wounds, some serious.
On Sunday, a sevenyear-old girl with explosives strapped to her killed five people and wounded dozens outside a market in Potiskum.
The use of female suicide bombers has become a common tactic of Boko Haram since last year as the group expanded territory and became stronger and more deadly. But in the past three weeks it has begun to suffer a string of defeats in a military offensive by Nigeria and neighbours Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
On Saturday, Nigerian troops backed by air strikes seized the northeastern border town of Baga from Boko Haram, a significant victory in the offensive.
But failure to protect civilians is a major criticism of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration ahead of an election scheduled for March 28.
Potiskum lies in Yobe state, which has seen many Boko Haram attacks but has not been taken over by them the way neighbouring Borno state has, and is hundreds of kilometres from the main theatre of the war against the insurgents.