By Alexis Akwagyiram
Two female suicide bombers have killed at least eight people at a camp for people displaced by the jihadist Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria, a community security force member and a customs official said on Thursday.
The bombings happened around 8 a.m. (0700 GMT) on Wednesday in the town of Banki on the edge of Borno state, near the border with Cameroon. An attack in February on an internally displaced persons camp, also in Borno, killed 60 people.
Details of Wednesday’s attack were slow to emerge as Banki is remote and largely disconnected from mobile phone networks. The state of Borno is where Boko Haram began their insurgency seven years ago. The group wants to create a state adhering to strict sharia law.
“Two female suicide bombers who were initially thought to be IDPs blew themselves up in the camp,” said Khalid Aji, a member of a grassroots community security group based in Konduga, a Borno district nearly 100km from Banki.
“The first one occurred at about 8 a.m. and the second followed few minutes later. Eight people died and 12 were wounded,” he added.
Aji said members of his organization in Banki who helped to evacuate victims gave him details of the attack.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.
A senior Nigeria Customs Service official, who asked not to be named, also said eight people were killed but put the number of wounded at 15.
Banki, which is around 120 km from the state capital Maiduguri, was seized by Boko Haram in 2013 but Nigerian troops drove the militant group out of the town early last year.
Boko Haram once controlled an area roughly the size of Belgium in northeast Nigeria, but in early 2014 they were pushed out by Nigerian troops aided by soldiers from neighboring countries.
The jihadist group has since stepped up cross-border attacks and carried out suicide bombings in markets, bus stations and places of worship.