Young girls fleeing from Boko Haram Islamists pass burnt houses in Mairi village in northeast Borno State, Nigeria. Picture:  AFP PHOTO
Young girls fleeing from Boko Haram Islamists pass burnt houses in Mairi village in northeast Borno State, Nigeria, on Friday. Picture: AFP PHOTO

MAIDUGURI — Two female suicide bombers killed more than 60 people at a camp for people displaced by an insurgency of the jihadist Boko Haram group in the northeast Nigerian town of Dikwa, military and emergency officials said on Wednesday.

The attack occurred 85km outside the capital of Borno state, centre of the seven-year insurgency. It took place on Tuesday, but a breakdown in the telephone system prevented the incident being made public earlier.

Boko Haram is one of the world’s deadliest terrorist groups and a regional affiliate of Islamic State.

The two female suicide bombers entered an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp and set off their bombs in the middle of the camp, emergency officials and the military source said.

The attack was believed to be a reprisal for a military strike on Boko Haram strongholds in the area last week.

The chairman of the State Emergency Management Agency, Satomi Ahmad, added that 78 people were injured.

No group claimed responsibility but the attack bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, which has frequently used female bombers and even children to hit targets.

The militant group has recently increased the frequency and deadliness of attacks with three at the end of January. At least 65 people were killed outside Borno state capital Maiduguri on January 31.

Since it lost territory to a government counteroffensive last year, Boko Haram has reverted to hit-and-run attacks on villages and suicide bombings at places of worship or markets.

Boko Haram has only rarely targeted camps housing people displaced by the conflict and Tuesday’s attack was the first one to kill victims in Borno state.

The military said militants made one abortive attempt on a camp on the outskirts of Maiduguri on January 31. Boko Haram hit a Nigerian IDP camp for the first time in September, in the Adamawa state capital of Yola.

Reuters