At least 19 people have been killed after a female suicide bomber, thought to be only 10 years old, set off an explosion in a market in the northeastern Nigerian city of Damaturu on Sunday.
While no one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, it bears the hallmarks of militant Islamist group Boko Haram.
Toyin Gbadegesin, a police spokesman, told the Reuters news agency that the bomber, “a female of about 10 years old capitalised on the crowded entrance of the market where screening was being conducted and detonated the device”.
Hundreds of people have been killed in bombings and shootings across northern Nigeria since Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated as president on May 29.
Buhari has promised to crush the group and has moved Nigeria’s defence command centre to Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, and is working with counterparts in neighbouring countries to set up a multinational force with headquarters in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena.
The attack took place less than a week after 3 policemen were killed at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the city.
Boko Haram, which controlled large expanses of territory at the end of 2014, have been pushed out of most of that territory by Nigerian troops in recent months, with help from Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.
Since then, the group, which wants to form an Islamic state, has been carrying out attacks in Nigeria’s north as well as neighbouring countries.
By Fiona Carty