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Child Suicide Bomber Kills At Least 16 in Nigeria’s Boko Haram Heartland

MAIDUGURI/KADUNA, Nigeria — A bomb strapped to a girl aged around 10 years old exploded in a busy marketplace in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Saturday, killing at least 16 people and injuring more than 20, security sources said. "The explosive devices were wrapped around her body and the girl looked no more than 10 years old," a police source said.

Maiduguri, the capital of northern Borno state, lies in the heartland of an insurgency by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, and is often hit by bomb attacks. A Nigerian security source said the bomb went off at 12:15 p.m. The girl was killed and the bodies of at least 16 victims were counted in one hospital by mid-afternoon, civilian joint task force member Zakariya Mohammed told Reuters. "Right now, there are 27 injured people in Borno Medical Hospital, while more were taken to other hospitals," he said.

About 80 miles away in the Yobe state capital Damaturu, the army subdued an Islamist militant attack on Friday evening, but not before militants had torched several buildings, a Reuters reporter in the city and witnesses said.

The Boko Haram revolt is seen as the gravest security threat facing Nigeria, a country of 170 million people, and a serious challenge for President Goodluck Jonathan, who is seeking re-election in a national election set for Feb. 14.

Who Are Nigeria's Boko Haram? 0:43

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— Reuters