Teenage girls used as human bombs to kill 30 near Nigerian mosque

Children in conflicts

Aftermath of the bombing yesterday in Maiduguri

For the third time this month, Boko Haram are suspected of using young girls as “suicide bombers” to attack targets in Nigeria.

Explosives carried by two teenage girls killed about 30 people yesterday at a fish market near a mosque in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.

Hundreds of girls and young women have been captured by Boko Haram – including more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok – and it is feared many of them are being used in the group's war on the state and education.

In the latest attack, witnesses said one of the teenagers exploded as she approached a mosque packed with people at afternoon prayers during the holy month of Ramadan. The second girl is said to have run away and then blew up further away, killing only herself.

A military bomb disposal expert told the Associated Press news agency that most bombs carried by girls are detonated remotely, not by the carrier.

On June 11, a girl believed to about 10 was stopped for a security check at a market in the Borno state capital Maiduguri. The bombs strapped to her exploded and killed 16 people.

A police officer examines damage from latest attack

The following day, two suspected child suicide bombers killed three people and injured 26 when their explosives blew up in Potiskum, Yobe state.

Last month the United Nations children's agency UNICEF warned that girls and women are being used increasingly as suicide bombers by Boko Haram.

It said there had been more attacks up to the end of May 2015 than in the whole of last year.

Jean Gough, UNICEF Representative in the country, said: “Children are not instigating these suicide attacks – they are used intentionally by adults in the most horrific way. They are first and foremost victims, not perpetrators.”

Nigeria has nine million children out of school. About 743,000 children have been uprooted from their homes by the growing violence perpetrated by Boko Haram in the northeast of the country and UNICEF believes as many as 10,000 of them are unaccompanied or were separated from their families when they fled the violence.

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