Witnesses and government officials have blamed last week’s attacks on Boko Haram, the terror group that has been fighting the Nigerian government for more than a decade, pushing to bring an extreme version of Islamic law, or Sharia, to the masses.
The explosion at the Yantaya Mosque came as cleric Sani Yahaya was addressing the worshippers, survivors said. The city has been targeted in the past by bomb blasts claimed by Boko Haram extremists that have killed hundreds of people.
In the latest outbreak of violence, Boko Haram extremists have killed about 300 people in the past week – apparently after an order by the self-proclaimed Islamic State group for more mayhem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. On Sunday, at least 44 people died in two attacks in the central city of Jos. National Emergency Management Agency coordinator Abdussalam Mohammed told CBS News that 67 other people were wounded in the attacks, which happened on Sunday night.
Over the weekend, a suicide bomber killed at least six people in a Redeemed church in Potiskum, Yobe State.
The insurgents have been pushed out of towns and villages since the turn of the year but the attacks demonstrate the group is not a spent force.
“I will also want to assure the families of departed colleagues that they will not be forgotten all statutory requirements and privileges for children and families they left behind would be honoured and be executed”, he said.
A girl aged about 13 was killed when explosives strapped to her body went off near a major mosque in northern Nigeria’s largest city Kano, police said, adding that no one else was caught up in the blast. “They have been thoroughly investigated and acquitted of any involvement in the activities of Boko Haram or connected with the group, We have decided to hand them over to the Borno State Government”, Minimah said.
Boko Haram has been known to target churches in Nigeria before, including spates of attacks on the places of worship in November 2011 and June 2013. The recently elected president has pledged to defeat Boko Haram, but military efforts to stop the bloodshed have failed thus far.
CNN’s Christian Purefoy reported from Lagos.