Five girls have reportedly detonated themselves in the northeastern city of Maiduguri today, killing at least nine people and wounding more than 30 others. Using female suicide bombers is a common tactic of the Islamic State’s West African Province (ISWA), formerly known as Boko Haram.
According to the BBC, the five bombers targeted a mosque and the house of a local vigilante leader in the city. The British news agency quoted local witnesses and officials as saying that some of the girls “were as young as nine.” Additionally, the death toll is expected to rise as Nigerian officials gather more information from the scene. Last week, the city was hit by coordinated improvised explosive device attacks which left at least eight people dead.
Maiduguri has seen several attacks by female suicide bombers this year. On June 24, a pair of women who were thought to be in their twenties killed 30 people in separate attacks at a market and a prayer area in the city. Three days earlier, another woman detonated a device at a bus station in Maiduguri, killing at least 20 people.
The suicide bombings in Maiduguri also come a week after two female suicide bombers detonated themselves in Mora in northern Cameroon. According to Reuters, a police officer and two civilians were killed in that attack. Earlier last month, the jihadist group used two teenage girls to attack a local market and an army camp in Kerewa, killing 30.