At least 30 people were killed and more than 80 others injured in a triple suicide attack Tuesday in the town of Mandarari, in Nigeria’s Borno State, according to civilian vigilantes fighting Boko Haram Islamists in the area.
Three female suicide bombers detonated their explosive belts in a local market and outside a nearby camp for people displaced by Boko Haram violence.
“The first bomber struck outside the IDP (internally displaced persons) camp overlooking the market around 6 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET) hitting some people and causing confusion as people tried to flee ” civilian vigilante Bukar Kyari said.
While traders were trying to close their shops and evacuate their wares, two female bombers hit the market “almost simultaneously,” said another civilian vigilante, Usman Grema.
The attacks happened on a weekly market day when people from the town and nearby villages flood the market to buy and sell food, clothing and livestock.
Twenty-eight people were initially killed at the explosion site, and two others died after being taken to a hospital in the town of Maiduguri, where they died at admission, according to a medic at the state-run hospital. The death toll is expected to rise.
As of yet, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the Konduga district where it took place is a known flashpoint for Boko Haram attacks.
Study: Group uses female bombers disproportionately
Earlier this month, a study found that the majority of suicide bombers used by Boko Haram to kill innocent victims are women and children.
Researchers at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point and Yale University analyzed the 434 suicide bombings carried out by Nigeria-based militants Boko Haram since 2011, and found that at least 244 of the 338 attacks in which the bomber’s gender could be identified were carried out by women.
The ISIS-affiliated insurgent group’s use of women as bombers increased after the abduction of 276 female students aged between 16 and 18 from their school dormitories in April 2014. It has sent over 80 women to their deaths in 2017.
The report’s authors say there are several reasons why women and children are chosen as bombers, one being that they are far less likely to be searched.
They can hide explosives under their billowing clothing, or inside handbags, and in some cases have even strapped explosives on their backs with infant children.