A crowd at a Nigerian market has beaten to death a teenage girl accused of being a suicide bomber and then set her body on fire, police said.
Officers said a second suspect, also a teenage girl, was arrested at the biggest market in Bauchi city in the north east of the country.
A spate of such attacks has been blamed on Nigeria’s homegrown Boko Haram extremist group, which wants to enforce strict Islamic law across Nigeria.
Market trader Mohd Adamu said the girls refused to be searched at the gate to the vegetable market, arousing suspicion from people who attacked them.
But police spokesman Mohammad Haruna said it seemed doubtful the girl was a bomber and described her as the victim of “mob action carried out by an irate crowd”.
People at the Muda Lawal market overpowered one girl and discovered she had two bottles strapped to her body, said Mr Adamu. They clubbed her to death, put a tyre doused in fuel over her head and set it on fire, he said.
Recently some girls as young as 10 have been used to carry explosives that detonated in busy markets and bus stations, raising fears that Boko Haram might be using some of its hundreds of kidnap victims in bomb attacks.
It is unclear whether the girls detonate explosions themselves or whether the bombs are controlled remotely.
President Goodluck Jonathan last week condemned Boko Haram for choosing soft targets and said the series of bombings are a response to the Nigerian military’s recent success in seizing back towns that had been in the hands of the extremists for months.
A multi-national military force is being formed to stop Boko Haram’s attacks outside Nigerian borders. About 10,000 people died in Nigeria in Boko Haram violence last year, compared with 2,000 in the first four years, according to the US Council on Foreign Relations.