At least 18 people killed in multiple suicide bombings in Nigeria

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — At least 18 people were killed and dozens of others were injured in a series of suicide bombings, all carried out by women, Saturday afternoon in northeastern Nigeria. They included one explosion that went off at the wedding of a young couple and another at a funeral, according to local officials.

Barkindo Saidu, the director general of Borno State’s emergency management agency, said that three female attackers had struck distinct locations in Gwoza, a bustling city in Borno State that has been the center of an insurgency by the militant group Boko Haram over the past 15 years.


The victims included children and pregnant women, Saidu said. Some Nigerian news outlets reported that at least 30 people had been killed.

As of Sunday afternoon, no group had claimed responsibility for the bombings.

The blasts resembled attacks carried out by Boko Haram, whose fighters have killed tens of thousands in Nigeria and whose aggression in the region has led to the displacement of more than 2 million people. The number of suicide bombings has decreased in recent years, but Saturday’s multiple blasts were a reminder that terrorism remains a vivid threat in northeastern Nigeria.

The first attacker Saturday detonated a bomb that she was wearing at a wedding celebration, Saidu said in a preliminary report seen by The New York Times. Seven people died in that explosion, including the attacker and a baby she had with her, according to Kenneth Daso, a public relations officer with the police in Borno.

Two other attackers struck later near a hospital and at the funeral services for a victim of the earlier blast, Saidu said.

Authorities did not say how many devices were detonated, how many people were killed in the two other bombings or whether the suicide bombers in those attacks were killed. But Saidu said that “so far,” at least 18 people were known to have been killed in the series of attacks.

Among the people killed at the wedding were three men, including a high school teacher, an entrepreneur and a bicycle seller, said Baba Shehu Saidu, a friend of theirs and of the groom who said that he had planned to attend the wedding but had to cancel at the last minute.

The bride and the groom survived the attack. It was not immediately clear if they were injured.

The victims “were kind, smart people who had white-collar jobs and were giving back to their community,” said Baba Shehu Saidu, 30, a lecturer in mathematics at Borno State University in the city of Maiduguri, who is not related to the emergency services director of the same name.

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