Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in the city of Dikwa in northeastern Nigeria, killing upwards of 65 people and wounding another 150.
Authorities are attributing the attacks to the radical Islamist group Boko Haram.
The incident occurred on Tuesday but the news did not reach the outside world until Wednesday night due to destruction of the local telephone installations by the terrorists. The two suicide bombers reportedly infiltrated the camp as authorities were distributing breakfast, detonating the explosives they were wearing.
According to military authorities, the bombers were teenage girls who had sneaked into the Dikwa camp disguised as displaced persons. Along with the two who carried out the attack, a third girl reportedly refused to detonate the explosives strapped to her body because her parents and siblings were among the IDPs in the camp.
The third bomber, who was taken into custody, told soldiers in the camp that more suicide bombers and insurgents had been assigned to attack the camp, and that they should “expect more attacks on this camp soon.”
Attacks on so-called “soft targets” are an integral part of the strategy of Boko Haram, which seeks to sow terror and instability throughout the land.
“The insurgents are desperate to attack soft targets like this camp, which has no electricity or means of communication as all the telecom masts are destroyed,” said a local Nigerian soldier under condition of anonymity.
Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo expressed his condolences to the victims and their families, vowing that the masterminds behind the attack would be hunted down.
“The full weight of the Federal Government’s force will be deployed to hunt down the perpetrators of this evil act and confront terrorists who threaten lives, liberty and property of all Nigerians,” he said in a statement.
The Dikwa refugee camp, some 50 miles from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram and capital of Borno State, is home to more than 50,000 people who have fled the violence of Boko Haram.
Last week, soldiers killed some 100 Boko Haram insurgents in a number of skirmishes, as regional forces continue their campaign to eradicate the jihadists.
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