MS Risk Blog

Many Killed In Bombings in Northeastern Nigeria

Posted on in Nigeria title_rule

Reports emerged Friday that many people have been killed in three explosions that occurred during Friday prayers at one of the largest mosques in the Nigerian city of Kano. The attacks come a week after one of Nigeria’s top Islamic leaders issued a call to arms to fight Boko Haram.

According to on the ground sources, the Grand Mosque in Kano was targeted Friday by suspected Boko Haram militants. The blasts occurred as Friday prayers had got under way at about 2:00 PM (1300 GMT). According to one local, “two bombs exploded, one after the other, in the premises of the Grand Mosque seconds after the prayers had started,” adding “a third one went off in a nearby road close to the Qadiriyya Sufi order. The blasts were followed by gunshots by the police to scare off potential attacks.” Eyewitnesses have reported that at least fifty people were killed in the attack, however officials have not released any official figures. National police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu confirmed that an attack had occurred in Kano however he noted that he was waiting for a briefing from officers at the scene and declined to comment further.

While Boko Haram has in the past targeted the city, which is the largest in northern Nigeria, several times during its five-year insurgency, most of its attacks have occurred in the eastern areas of the city.

The Grand Mosque is attached to the palace of the Emir of Kano, Nigeria’s second most senior Muslim cleric. The Grand Mosque is also where the influential Muslim leader usually leads prayers. The Emir, Muhammed Sanusi II, is currently in Saudi Arabia. Sources have reported that he arrived in Saudi Arabia late on Thursday night from Paris. Some have indicated that Friday’s attack on the Grand Mosque may be the result of comments made by the Emir last week in which he stated that northerners should take up arms against Boko Haram. In what are rare public comments by a cleric pertaining to political and military affairs, the Emir also cast doubts on the ability of Nigeria’s army to protect civilians and to end the five-year insurgency.

Friday’s explosions come after civilian vigilantes in the northeastern city of Maiduguri revealed that they had foiled a bomb attack against a mosque just five days after two female suicide bombers killed over forty-five people in the city.   Civilian vigilantes have disclosed that they discovered a suspected remote-controlled device that was planted in the Gamboru Market area of the city. Sources have indicated that while the bomb was successfully diffused by the police bomb squad another bomb near the area exploded. There were no casualties and the area has since been cordoned off. Locals have reported that the bombs were likely planted ahead of Friday’s prayers, as there is a mosque located nearby. Many suspect Boko Haram militants to be behind this incident, which also come just days after several arrests were made. If Boko Haram confirms this incident, then it would demonstrate that it is evolving its tactics, as the use of concealed roadside bombs is not typically a method that the group has used. In the past, Boko Haram has used direct hit-and-run tactics, car bombs and suicide attacks to carry out its deadly campaign of creating an Islamic state in northeastern Nigeria.

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