YOLA, Nigeria (AP) — Self-defense fighters Wednesday killed three girl suicide bombers targeting a bustling market in northeastern Nigeria, civilian and military officials said. They blamed the Boko Haram Islamic extremist group for the attempted bombing.
The civilian fighters who work alongside the army challenged the girls as they approached a village near Madagali town, local council chairman Yusuf Muhammad Gulak told the Associated Press. The girls began running at the checkpoint and the fighters shot the girl in the lead, activating her explosives and killing her and a companion, he said. The third girl tried to flee and was gunned down, Gulak said.
Army spokesman Maj. Badare Akintoye confirmed the shootings, adding: "Our soldiers are on alert and commercial activities are going on" at the targeted market.
Soldiers and civilian fighters have stopped many suicide bombers before they can reach heavily populated targets in recent months. But two women suicide bombers killed 57 people and wounded 177, including 120 children, last month at Madagali market, 12 miles from the scene of Wednesday's shootings.
Boko Haram has used scores of women and girls as young as 7 in suicide bombings that have killed hundreds this year. Some of the bombers are suspected to have been previously kidnapped.