Nigerian authorities encourage Maiduguri residents to revive cultural traditions suppressed by Boko Haram.
Eight people were killed and at least 15 wounded on Wednesday in a car bomb attack in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state.
Police said the body of the suspected female bomber was believed among others found on the roadside in Maiduguri, the state capital.
“A suicide bomber went into a car this morning, which was supposed to join a convoy to be escorted by security forces while leaving the city,” Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris said, reporting from Kano.
“The suicide bomber was in the car with other female passengers. Before the car could join the convoy, the suicide bomber exploded herself, killing all of the five occupants, including the driver, as well as three others outside.”
“About eight people lost their lives, 15 injured people were evacuated to specialist and teaching hospitals,” the National Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.
Cars in Borno state often travel in convoys organised by the military to minimise the risk of ambushes in rural areas from the armed group Boko Haram.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, but Boko Haram has done so in the past for similar attacks.
In recent months, the army has retaken much of the territory initially lost to the group, which has killed thousands of people since 2009. However, Boko Haram still frequently stages suicide-bomb attacks and plants roadside explosive devices.
Al Jazeera’s Idris also said skirmishes took place in various parts of the country between Shia groups, security forces, and others after state governments banned religious processions for the holy day of Ashoura, which marks the martyrdom 1,300 years ago of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein.
Skirmishes in Kaduna state, the centre of the country’s Shia-Muslim movement, and other parts of the country killed at least 10 people, according to witnesses. The reports have not yet been confirmed by authorities, Idris said.
Witnesses said properties had been set on fire and clashes had broken out between people taking part in the processions and a group of unknown youths.
A Reuters photographer at the site saw two bodies and a school being vandalised by about 10 youths.
Boko Haram, which has pledged alliance to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has killed about 20,000 people and displaced more than two million in a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating a state that adheres to strict Islamic law.
It controlled a swath of land in northeast Nigeria about the size of Belgium at the end of 2014, but was pushed out early last year by Nigerian troops, supported by soldiers from neighbouring countries Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
The group has escalated its attacks on neighbouring countries in recent months.
Niger last week held two days of national mourning after 22 soldiers were killed in an attack blamed on Boko Haram against a camp sheltering almost 4,000 Malian refugees.