Two bomb attacks in 24 hours — one of them involving an 11-year-old female bomber — killed dozens of people and wounded more than 120 others in the Nigerian cities of Yola and Kano, authorities said.
At least 31 people were killed and 72 others injured in a bomb blast Tuesday evening in the northeastern city of Yola, Aliyu Maikano, a local Red Cross official, said.
It was not clear whether the blast was from a planted device or the work of a suicide bomber, according to reports.
An official from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Sa’ad Bello, gave a slightly higher toll of 32 dead and 80 injured, while hospital officials gave newspapers an even higher total.
Roughly 400 miles to the northwest, in Kano, two bombings killed 15 people and injured at least 123 in a mobile phone market, Kano state police commissioner Muhammad Musa Katsina said.
‘The most deadly terrorist group in the world’
The two bombers, who Katsina said were females ages 11 and 18, blew themselves up at about 4 p.m. local time, during the peak of trading, he said. A minivan carrying four other children believed to be bombers dropped the girls off, he said.
Police searching for the minivan set up checkpoints around the city and along its outskirts. Armed policemen conducted searches on motorists entering the city.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group, is the prime suspect. The terrorist outfit hit the same market in January 2012, killing 185 people in bomb and gun attacks there.
Boko Haram, which operates mainly in Nigeria, has become the most deadly terrorist group in the world, according to the Global Terrorism Index 2015, compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace. Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to ISIS.
“Also notable over the past year is the major intensification of the terrorist threat in Nigeria,” the report said. “The country witnessed the largest increase in terrorist deaths ever recorded by any country, increasing by over 300% to 7,512 fatalities.”
Tuesday evening’s explosion ripped through the crowded Tipper Garage in the Jambutu area of the city at about 7:48 p.m., shortly after evening prayers, Maikano said. The blast came almost a monthafter a deadly mosque attack in the same area.
“I cannot say how many people died in the explosion, but human parts littered the place. It happened when traders were closing shop for the day,” a resident identifying himself only as Mustapha told the Nigerian newspaper, Punch.
The area houses a livestock market, an open-air restaurant and a mosque. The explosion happened as traders were leaving the mosque and others were eating at the restaurant.
Relatives of those who worked in the area converged on Specialist Hospital Yola to determine whether their loved ones had been admitted, according to state-run Nigerian media.
“Since I did not see my brother who was selling sugar cane at the scene of the incident, I have no option but to come to the mortuary,” a man named Adamu told the News Agency of Nigeria.