Friday 23 February 2018

Two female suicide bombers kill at least 24 worshippers at Nigeria mosque

Rescuers say at least 22 people have been killed in the attack
Rescuers say at least 22 people have been killed in the attack

Two female suicide bombers have killed at least 24 worshippers and wounded 23 others in an attack during dawn prayers at a mosque on the outskirts of the Nigerian city of Maiduguri

One bomber blew up inside the mosque and the second waited outside to detonate as survivors tried to escape, said coordinator Abba Aji of the civilian self-defence Vigilante Group.

The toll rose when rescuers digging through rubble discovered five more injured people and recovered four more bodies, including the bombers, according to emergency official Mohammed Chullu.

Umar Usman said he escaped because he was late to worship. "We were just a few meters away from the mosque when a loud bang erupted and all we could see was dark smoke and bodies littered around," he added.

A hospital official said 13 bodies already have been claimed for the speedy burials required by Muslim tradition.

The Umarari mosque is on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the city that is the military command centre of the war against Boko Haram Islamic insurgents.

Reports that Umarari is a Boko Haram stronghold were incorrect, officials said.

Several suicide bombers have exploded in recent months at roadblocks leading into the city, indicating success in preventing attackers from reaching crowded areas.

It is the first attack on Maiduguri since December 28, when rocket-propelled grenades and multiple suicide bombers killed 50 people including refugees from the war.

The military said dozens of emaciated extremists surrendered this month, indicating success in cutting supply routes, including from neighbouring countries to which the insurgency has spread.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has claimed that the military has forced Boko Haram out of all towns.

But the general in charge of US Africa Command said they still hold "significant" territory and north eastern officials said that includes three border towns.

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