Yesterday's Jumat prayer at the Kano Central Mosque turned bloody when gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists stormed the mosque and detonated three bombs inside. The terrorists thereafter opened fire on the worshippers killing 35 people in the Mosque located next to the palace of the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi.

But the Emir was not around during the attack. In a swift reaction, President Goodluck Jonathan extended heartfelt condolences to the people and Government of Kano State over the heinous attack.

 

Kano State Deputy Police Commissioner, Sanusi Lemo confirmed that the blasts claimed 35 lives and that 150 others were injured and are receiving treatment in hospitals. However, sources said the casualty figure may be higher considering the fact that the Mosque was packed full, coupled with the enormity of the blasts.

Several cars and motorcycles packed around the Mosque were destroyed beyond recognition by the explosion. Most of the victims of the terror attack were rushed to the Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital and Nasarawa Hospital. As at last night, the two hospitals were battling to save the injured. An eyewitness, Ahmed Mohammed Soron Dinki said: "I was rushing to the mosque for prayers when I heard a big sound and heavy smoke followed. It was terrible. I saw more than fifty dead bodies on the ground and the majority of the dead bodies are kids and their parents."

"These people have bombed the mosque. I am face to face with people screaming," said Chijjani Usman, a local reporter who had gone to the mosque in the old city to pray. "Three bombs were planted in the courtyard to the mosque and they went off simultaneously," a security source who declined to be named told Reuters. "After multiple explosions, they also opened fire. I cannot tell you the number of casualties because we all ran away," added a member of staff at the palace.

After the blasts, angry youths blocked the Mosque's gates to prevent the police from gaining entry. They claimed that the Police have failed to protect them. The Police had to disperse them with tear gas to gain entry. The state's Deputy Police Commissioner briefed the press last night and confirmed the death of 35 people and 150 others injured. Lemu said the incident happened at about 2pm. He said security had been beefed up in the area while investigation had since commenced. The deputy police commissioner said the dead bodies had been deposited in the morgue. Lemu urged the people in the state to continue to be very vigilant and report any suspected persons to the security agencies for immediate action.

Boko Haram regards the traditional Islamic religious authorities in Nigeria with disdain, considering them corrupt, self-serving elite that is too close to the secular government. The terrorists have killed thousands in gun and bomb attacks on churches, schools, police stations, military bases, government buildings and mosques that do not share their radical Islamist ideology.

The insurgency has forced more than one million people to flee during its campaign focused on the northeast. Islamic leaders sometimes shy away from direct criticism of Boko Haram for fear of reprisals. But Sanusi, angered by atrocities such as the kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls from the village of Chibok in April, has been increasingly vocal. He was quoted in the local press as calling on Nigerians this month to defend themselves against Boko Haram. During a broadcast recitation of the Koran he was reported to have said: "These people, when they attack towns, they kill boys and enslave girls. People must stand resolute ... They should acquire what they can to defend themselves. People must not wait for soldiers to protect them."

By Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano, Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri, Chuks Okocha and Muhammad Bello in Abuja

 

 

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