At least two dozen killed in Nigeria suicide bombings

Yesterday, at least 24 people were killed in a dual suicide bombing in Nigeria’s northwestern town of Mubi. The attacks came less than a week after Boko Haram militants targeted the city of Maiduguri.

According to local reports, a suicide bomber entered a mosque in Mubi during prayer times and detonated his explosives. Shortly after, a second bomber detonated his explosives outside of the mosque. The second explosion occurred as people were fleeing the scene from the first blast waves. Reports have estimated the number of killed at 24, while others have placed the number at 27.

No group has so far claimed the bombings, however, they fit the modus operandi of the Abubakar Shekau-led Boko Haram. The faction has a long history of deliberately targeting civilians; whereas the Islamic State West Africa, under Abu Musab al Barnawi, largely limits its activities to more military targets.

The Shekau faction was responsible for last November’s deadly suicide bombing also in Mubi. Similar to yesterday’s attack, that bombing included a male suicide bomber entering a mosque pretending to be a member of the congregation. At least 50 people were killed in that explosion. The Shekau faction was also responsible for last week’s assault inside Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s Borno state. At least six people were also killed, including two female suicide bombers, in a gunfight within the Jidari Polo area of Maiduguri.

Shekau’s Boko Haram has repeatedly targeted Maiduguri with women suicide bombers. Since 2014, Maiduguri has been victimized by at least 143 female suicide bombers in 65 separate attacks according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal. Most were successful, however, several bombers were either arrested or killed before detonation.

While neither Shekau’s faction nor ISWA controls the territory it once did as a unified force, both factions continue to remain a threat to both Nigerian security forces and the civilian populations in northern Nigeria. Yesterday’s suicide bombing provided further evidence for the continual threat of jihadist violence in northeastern Nigeria. Moreover, both also remain a threat to regional security as security forces and civilians have been targeted in several neighboring countries as well.

Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

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