DAMATURU, Nigeria (AP) — Suicide bombers killed at least 18 people Wednesday in three dawn attacks including in a mosque in the northeastern Nigerian town of Damaturu, officials and witnesses said.
Separately, Boko Haram Islamic extremists attacked a rural military camp in northeastern Yobe state overnight but were repulsed by troops who killed at least 100 of the insurgents, the military said. Seven troops died in the fighting and nine were injured in the village of Goniri, said army spokesman Col. Sani Usman.
Hours later, at around 6 a.m. when mosques are filled with the faithful performing early-morning prayers, two women suicide bombers struck in Damaturu, Yobe state’s commercial center.
“One of the suicide bombers gained entry into the mosque and detonated explosives and the other bomber was sighted roaming around the compound and (when) asked questions, she too detonated explosives,” said resident Ibrahim Musa.
He said he counted 15 bodies and 12 wounded people rushed to the hospital in Damaturu, which has suffered dozens of attacks during Nigeria’s 6-year-old Islamic uprising.
Police Assistant Superintendent Toyin Gbagedesin said seven people died in the Damaturu attacks. There was no immediate way to reconcile the conflicting tolls.
Gbagedesin also reported a third attack by two male suicide bombers on a settlement of Fulani herders that he said killed 10 people.
Residents blamed Boko Haram for the dawn attack on the Muhammadu Buhari Housing Estate.
The extremists have stepped up attacks since Buhari took office in May pledging to halt the Islamic uprising.
Attacks have spilled over into neighboring countries. Chadian authorities said a Boko Haram attack Tuesday near Chad’s border with Nigeria left 11 soldiers and 37 militants dead.
Amnesty International estimates 20,000 people have died in Nigeria’s extremist insurgency.