Pro-government anti-terror fighters in Nigeria have managed to kill three radicalized girls before they could detonate their explosive vests in a crowded market in the country’s northeastern province of Adamawa, officials say.
The incident occurred on Wednesday when civilian fighters spotted the three girls and became suspicious that they were wearing explosive vests as the three were trying to pass a checkpoint in a village near the town of Madagali, said local council chairman Yusuf Muhammad Gulak.
He said the girls ignored the fighters’ commands to stop and began running, prompting fire from the forces.
According to Gulak, the girl in the lead was shot first, and her explosives were activated as a result. The blast killed her and another one of the would-be terrorists. The third girl was also gunned down as she tried to escape the scene.
Officials blamed the Takfiri Boko Haram terrorist group for the attempted attack.
In recent months, army troops and civilian fighters in Nigeria have managed to foil many bomb attacks involving terrorists wearing explosive vests before the assailants were able to reach heavily-populated targets and detonate their bombs of their own accord.
Last month, however, two women, with the Boko Haram, killed 57 people and injured 177, including 120 children, after they detonated their explosive vests at a bustling market at Madagali, some 20 kilometers from the Wednesday shootings scene. Boko Haram later claimed responsibility for the massacre.
On December 24, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in 2015 with a pledge to eradicate Boko Haram, announced that the army had “crushed” the terror group a day earlier by retaking its last key bastion, deep inside the thick Sambisa Forest in the northeastern province of Borno.
Boko Haram terrorists started their reign of terror in 2009 with the aim of toppling the Nigerian government. In their heyday in early 2015, they managed to control an area in the country’s northeast as vast as Belgium, but they lost most of that territory over the last year as the Nigerian government, along with troops from some affected neighboring countries such as Chad and Cameroon, launched a joint military campaign to eradicate the militant group.
The group, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” has pledged allegiance to Daesh, a Takfiri terrorist group mainly active in Iraq and Syria.
Boko Haram terrorists have so far killed more than 20,000 people and forced over 2.7 million others from their homes.