LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — The bombers in the northeastern town from which Boko Haram abducted scores of schoolgirls were men wearing hijabs with explosives strapped to their backs to look like babies, Nigeria’s military said Friday. A community leader said multiple explosions in Chibok killed 18 people.
In a new attack Friday, a teenage boy detonated himself at a market in northeast Gombi town, killing at least eight people and wounding 25, according to local Red Cross official Maikano Abdullahi.
Such attacks are blamed on Boko Haram Islamic extremists who have turned to suicide bombings of soft targets since troops last year forced them out of towns and villages.
The six-year insurgency has killed some 20,000, driven 2.5 million from their homes and spread across Nigeria’s borders. On Monday, four suicide bombers attacked a market and town in northern Cameroon, killing at least 35 people and wounding 65, according to officials who said the bombers came from Nigeria. On Thursday, two female suicide bombers targeted a school in northern Cameroon. Officials said they killed only themselves and wounded some students.
In Nigeria’s northeastern town of Chibok, one bomber was discovered to be a man wearing a woman’s dress when bodies were brought to the hospital, according to a nurse who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to reporters.
Community leader Pogu Bitrus said the toll was higher than originally given: 17 civilians, one soldier and three suicide bombers died in explosions Wednesday.
Bitrus said six bombers entered the town. Military spokesman Col. Mustapha Ank confirmed two were disguised as women.
Chibok and Boko Haram came to the world’s attention after the Islamic extremists’ mass abduction of schoolgirls in April 2014.
Associated Press writers Ibrahim Abdulaziz in Yola, Haruna Umar in Abuja and Ismail Alfa in Maiduguri contributed to this report.
MICHELLE FAUL, Associated Press
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