Two young girls killed at least three people yesterday when they blew themselves up in a market place in Potiskum, northern Nigeria. They were thought to have been around ten years of age. The attack comes just days after another young girl killed herself in a similar attack in Maiduguri, Nigeria. It is thought that Boko Haram are behind the deadly explosions.
In Potiskum, at mid-afternoon yesterday, an explosion went off in an open market place where mobile phones are sold. According to sources at the local hospital, three people were killed, excluding the two bombers, and 46 were injured, although United Press International are putting the figure at six dead.
“I saw their dead bodies. They are two young girls of about 10 years of age … you only see the plaited hair and part of the upper torso,” said Sani Abdu Potiskum, a trader at the market, according to Al Jazeera.
A security official who took part in the rescue operation said: “The second bomber was terrified by the explosion and she tried to dash across the road but she also exploded.”
Although no-one has yet claimed responsibility for the explosions, Potiskum has been the scene of repeated attacks by Boko Haram. Just days earlier, another suicide bomber detonated himself at a checkpoint, killing himself and a police officer.
And on the same day, another young girl, also thought to be ten years old, killed herself and 19 others at a live chicken market in Maiduguri, in the Nigerian state of Borno.
UNICEF, the UN’s children’s charity has said that details of the attacks “should be searing the conscience of the world”.
In a statement, UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake said: “Words alone can neither express our outrage nor ease the agony of all those suffering from the constant violence in northern Nigeria. But these images of recent days and all they imply for the future of Nigeria should galvanise effective action. For this cannot go on.”
Borno state was also the scene of Boko Haram’s “deadliest massacre” to date, according to Amnesty International, when the town of Baga and a nearby army base near were overrun. 16 surrounding settlements were also razed to the ground.
During the attack, troops from Niger, Chad and Nigeria were forced into retreat, whilst local residents were set fleeing. 2,000 people are believed to have died in the attack, which the Nigerian military confirmed was “the deadlist” in the battle with Boko Haram to date.
Over the last five years, Boko Haram has been staging an insurgency designed to establish an Islamic state in the north east of Nigeria. So far the conflict has claimed 13,000 lives.