Nigerian troops on Tuesday saved the life of a young woman strapped with explosives and killed another suicide bomber, apparently primed by Boko Haram Islamic extremists to attack the northeastern city of Maiduguri, police said.
Soldiers on guard duty spotted the two moving toward a large gas station and ordered them to halt, according to police spokesman Victor Isuku. When they continued to advance, soldiers shot and killed one of the women. The second then surrendered.
Both women were wearing jackets laden with explosives but the soldiers were able to disarm them, Isuku said.
Witnesses told police the women appeared to be about 18 years old. Photographs provided by the police show the arrested bomber in a blue-and-yellow dress and yellow hijab covering her head and shoulders, leaving her face bare.
Nigerian troops and self-defense civilian fighters have prevented dozens of suicide bombings in recent months through increased security at entries to cities and towns and body searches outside targets like marketplaces and mosques.
Still, dozens have been killed in recent bombings.
Boko Haram has used scores of women and girls as young as 7 as suicide bombers, raising fears that the extremists are turning some of their thousands of kidnap victims into weapons.
Tuesday morning’s incident occurred on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram and headquarters of the military campaign to curb the seven-year Islamic uprising that has killed more than 20,000 people and left 2.6 million homeless.