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ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Three young suicide bombers set off explosions that killed six others and injured at least 24 people in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state, a Nigerian army spokesman said Monday.

The attack Sunday in Benisheikh came as Nigeria’s army launched an operation against two Boko Haram camps in the state that killed at least 12 militants, said army spokesman Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman.

Three suspected suicide bombers between the ages of 10 and 15 years old were spotted by a civilian group set up to fight Boko Haram as the young bombers approached a security checkpoint late Sunday, said Usman. The checkpoint was run by a local group of residents fighting the insurgency is known as the Civilian Joint Task Force.

Usman said that as the suspects were being screened, the explosives were detonated.

A security operative with the civilian group, Adamu Yaghe, said that the youngsters usually have the explosives chained and locked around their bodies in such a way that it would be difficult for someone to remove them should they fail to carry out the mission.

Nigeria’s Islamic extremist group Boko Haram has been using children, teens and women to carry out attacks.

Boko Haram’s 6-year-old Islamic uprising has killed an estimated 20,000 people and driven 2.3 million from their homes, according to Amnesty International and the United Nations.