Suspected Female Boko Haram Suicide Bombers Kill 65

Russ Read | Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

A pair of female suicide bombers detonated themselves in a displaced persons camp in Nigeria Tuesday, killing around 65.

It is believed the two women were affiliated with Boko Haram, a Nigerian terrorist group and Islamic State affiliate. Though the group has yet to take credit for the bombing, Boko Haram frequently uses women as suicide bombers.

“The bombers were apparently on the queue when they detonated their explosives,” said Mohammed Kanar, a regional director of National Emergency Management Agency.

The attack occurred in Dikwa in the northeast area of Nigeria and was set up as a safe-haven for those who were fleeing prior Boko Haram attacks. The camp itself is located approximately 50 miles from Borno state, the main battleground between Boko Haram, Nigerian government forces and their allies.

Map of Boko Haram operational area

Map of Boko Haram operational area. (Source: National Counter Terrorism Center)

“It is indeed regrettable that the heartless terrorists chose to unleash their wickedness on people who were taking refuge from previous acts of destruction in their homes,” said Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in a statement.

Tuesday’s attack is the latest in a string of bombing on displaced persons camps in the last two weeks. On Jan. 29, 10 were killed in Adamawa state with a second attack the next day killing 86 in the Dalori camp, which was then burned to the ground.

Boko Haram, which translates to “Western education is forbidden,” is a radical Islamic terrorist group which has existed in Nigeria since the early 1990s. The group rose to prominence beginning in 2010 when Abubakr Shekau took over leadership of the group, subsequently directing it to engage in a slew of improvised explosive device (IED) attacks. In response, the U.S. Department of State listed the group as a terrorist organization in 2013.

Boko Haram garnered international attention in 2014 when it began engaging in a massive campaign of attacks on targets ranging from Christian villages to government outposts. Global Terrorism Index claimed the group killed 6,644 people in 2014 through its various operations, beating ISIS, which is believed to have been responsible for 6,073 deaths in the same year. Though its kill count was higher, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS in March 2015.

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