Several female suicide bombers in northeast Nigeria blew themselves up amid
panicked villagers fleeing a Boko Haram attack, killing scores, the army and witnesses said Saturday. The latest destruction in series of attacks that have claimed more than 200 lives in just three days happened on Friday night in Zabarmari village, 10 kilometres (six miles) from the city of Maiduguri, Borno State Nigeria.
According to eye witness reports, large numbers" of fighters poured into the village, overpowering government forces deployed to prevent the insurgents reaching Maiduguri "The soldiers were forced to retreat," an eye witness said
As people began to flee, female suicide bombers started blowing themselves up in their midst, killing large numbers of people.
"A total of six suicide bombers detonated themselves,killing scores of people while some people were also wounded. A soldier also died," the Nigerian army said in a statement without specifying the sex of the bombers.
The Nigerian Military also confirmed that a SUV full of improvised explosive devices was recovered by troops, adding there was an ongoing search "for any bombs that might have been hidden or left unexploded in the area."
The militants were said to have looted shops and torched "almost half the village" before eventually being repelled after the military sent in reinforcements.
Danlami Ajaokuta, a civilian vigilante helping the military battle Boko Haram, who also witnessed the attack, spoke of heavy casualties.
"The main concern now is to evacuate and attend to the injured and later recover the dead bodies now lying in the village," he said, adding that more than 100 injured had been taken to hospital. Boko Haram, which is fighting to establish a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria and has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group, has intensified its campaign of violence since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power on May 29.
Earlier this week, militants gunned down worshippers at evening Ramadan prayers, shot women in their homes and dragged men and boys from their beds to kill them in the dead of night. A young female suicide bomber also killed 12 worshippers when she blew herself up in a mosque. Buhari condemned the attacks as "inhuman and barbaric" and again vowed to end the Islamists' six-year- old insurgency which has killed at least 15,000 people and displaced 1.5 million others.
Buhari's spokesman Femi Adesina said Saturday the president would keep his pledge to defeat the Islamists but added that the government did not rule out talks with the insurgents.
"If Boko Haram opts for negotiation, the government will not be averse to it," Adesina said a statement.
"Government will, however, not be negotiating from a position of weakness, but that of strength," he said.