A blast in a Nigerian cellphone market on Sunday killed five people and injured 19 others, officials there said.
The Daily Mail reports witnesses of the blast in the town of Potiskum believe the explosion was set off by a female suicide bomber, thought to be as young as 7 years old.
“So far, five people were killed with the girl while 19 others have been taken to hospital for injuries,” Buba Lawan, a local vigilante leader, is quoted as saying in The Guardian.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but local officials reportedly suspect that Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram ordered the girl into the market.
The group, which made headlines last year in the high-profile kidnapping of hundreds of school-age girls, is suspected of using young girls as suicide bombers. CBS News reported last month that at least two recent suicide bombings in Nigeria were confirmed to have been carried out by children.
An attack similar to the one Sunday occurred Jan. 11 in which two suicide bombers — one of whom was reported to be about 15 — blew themselves up outside a market that sells secondhand cellphones. That blast killed six and injured 37.
Security workers Sunday said they spotted the young girl they suspect of setting off the explosion and would not let her in the market.
“We sent her back four times, because given her age, she did not have anything to do in the market,” Lawan said. “When we were screening people, she bent and tried to pass under the ropes, some distance from our view. That was when the explosives went off.”
The attack follows a recent victory by the Nigerian army which took back the town of Baga from Boko Haram insurgents Saturday.
That was a much needed victory for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who has been harshly criticized for not doing more to put a stop to the group that has killed thousands of civilians in the Nigerian countryside since last year.
Jonathan, who is facing tough opposition from the country’s former military leader, Muhammadu Buhari, in a re-election campaign this year, took partial responsibility for the group managing to overrun portions of the country’s northeastern territories.
“Probably at the beginning, we, and I mean myself and the team, we underrated the capacity of Boko Haram,” Jonathan told a local newspaper recently.