Man disguised as woman wearing burqa kills 15 in Chad capital bomb attack
Shrouded in a woman’s body-length burqa to conceal a deadly explosive, a male suicide bomber killed 15 people and wounded 80 more in the main market of Chad’s capital Saturday morning.
Blanket-covered corpses were left among the scattered vegetables and overturned boxes of the market in N’Djamena — a city targeted by terrorists for the third time in a month, authorities said.
The dead — nine women and five men — were all employees at the market. The unidentified bomber, defying a national ban on burqas, was also killed in the blast that devastated the market around 8:30 a.m. and cast a pall during the holiest time of year.
“It is terrible to live through such things in the holy month of Ramadan,” one local resident told Reuters after the blast. “And right next to the main mosque of N’Djamena.”
The lone attacker, who was overhead praying in Arabic before detonating the bomb, detonated the device when military police tried to stop him from going into the market while wearing the burqa. Officials banned the traditional head-to-toe garment after a pair of suicide bombings rocked the northern African nation on the same day last month.
It was only after Saturday’s lethal blast that police discovered the bomber was a man.
“The suicide bomber was a man disguised as a woman,” said police spokesman Paul Manga. “He tried to enter the market when he was intercepted by police.”
Nigerian-based Islamic terrorists in the Boko Haram group are likely behind the recent torrent of violence, including attacks on June 17 that left 34 dead, authorities believe.
In both cases, terrorists wearing burqas rode their motorcycles into police facilities in the capital city. But enforcement of the clothing ban has been hit or miss over the last month.
A pair of villages in Chad near its border with Nigeria were also targeted recently by Boko Haram.
Since the June attacks, authorities in Chad have made 60 arrests and raided an arms cache as they attempt to disrupt Boko Haram operations in the nation.
Boko Haram now serves as the West African wing of the Islamic State terror group, better known as ISIS.
Boko Haram, in response to Chad’s part in the fight against the group, has publicly threatened its president, Idriss Deby.
ISIS leaders have encouraged their followers to ratchet up the violence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.