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Boko Haram suicide bombers kill 22 in Nigeria

A reported 22 have been confirmed dead and 42 injured after two women disguised as men blew themselves up at morning prayers in Nigeria. The attack is thought to be the work of Boko Haram insurgents.

The bombing took place in Umurari, a village near the city of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state in the northeast of the country. It is an area of the country that has been repeatedly targeted in the past by Boko Haram.

"Sadly, 22 people were killed and 18 others sustained various degrees of injuries," army spokesman Sani Usman said.

"One of them went in and joined the first row of the congregation and when the worshippers stood up for the prayers she detonated her explosives, killing several worshippers," Usman said, adding that as others were trying to flee, a second woman outside the mosque rushed in and set off her explosives in the crowd.

"One of the two female bombers, disguised as a male worshipper, joined other Muslim brothers in the mosque at Ummarari-Molai during ... prayers," according to Malum Farouk, a member of a grassroots security group in a civilian joint task force.

Boko Haram Islamists

regularly hit "soft" civilian targets such as mosques, markets and bus stations, including with female suicide bombers.

Maiduguri, where the group was formed in 2002, has been relatively calm in recent months as a result of a heavy military presence and a counter-offensive against the militants last year.

The insurgency has left at least 17,000 dead since 2009. On January 31, at least 85 people were killed when insurgents attacked the village of Dalori, 12 kilometres from Maiduguri, where a major displaced persons camp is located. The city was last attacked on December 27, when 22 people were killed and 91 injured in a series of raids, shelling and suicide attacks in the Jiddari Polo area.

jh/rc (AP/AFP/dpa)

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