IN Maiduguri—Nigerian soldiers, yesterday, shot dead a suspected suicide bomber outside a Military base in Maiduguri, Borno State, a civilian vigilante and a military source told newsmen. The shooting detonated explosives concealed in her handbag.
The target was thought to be the Maimalari Army Barracks, the main military base in Maiduguri, which had been hit repeatedly in recent months by Boko Haram terrorists.
Babakura Kolo, from the civilian volunteer force assisting troops against the rebels, said: “Soldiers at Maimalari Army Barracks this morning (yesterday) foiled a suicide attack by a female bomber.
“The woman approached the barracks around 7a.m. and headed towards the gates.
“Guards at the gates asked her to stop for security checks, but she ignored them and continued walking towards the gates, a handbag slung over her shoulder.
“One of the soldiers opened fire on the woman and the handbag exploded, blowing the woman to pieces.”
There were no other casualties in the explosion, which one military officer in the city described as an “attempted suicide attack by Boko Haram terrorists.”
Boko Haram has intensified its use of multiple suicide bombers to inflict maximum casualties, with secondary explosions detonated as people rush to help victims of the initial blast.
No fewer than 34 people were killed in a wave of attacks last Thursday night and Friday morning on the outskirts of Maiduguri, while last month 117 died in explosions in the Ajilari Cross area of the Borno State capital.
Of the six suicide attacks this month, four have been in Maiduguri, killing about 48 and injuring 99.
The military source, who requested anonymity, said the use of human bombs was a sign of the group’s desperation and frustration.
“They are looking for every opportunity to hit back, which is why they have resorted to soft-target attacks on mosques and markets and such attacks on a military base is intended to show the terrorists are still strong,” the officer added.