44 killed after two blasts hit central Nigerian city

Two bombings kill 44 people in central Nigerian city of Jos, one at a restaurant and another targeting Muslim cleric in a mosque

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

At least 44 people were killed in two attacks on a restaurant and mosque in the central Nigerian city of Jos on Sunday evening, emergency service authorities said on Monday.

About 23 people were killed in the suicide bombing at the Jos restaurant while 21 others died in a shooting incident outside the mosque. At least 47 people were injured, he said.

The bombing of the mosque targeted a Muslim cleric who had criticised Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

The two attacks in Jos were confirmed by Plateau State police spokesman Emmanuel Abuh, but he said no further details are currently available.

"I saw people running out crying, some with bloodstains," said resident Bashir Abdullahi, describing the scene after he said a suicide bomber ran into the crowded restaurant. "I believe many lives were lost."

There was a loud explosion after gunmen shot sporadically, eyewitnesses said.

"We saw two or three vehicles coming from different directions and we started hearing gunshots from all angles and then a very loud bang, like a bomb being thrown into the mosque," witness Abubakar Shehu told Reuters.

The cleric Sani Yahaya Jingir was targeted in the second attack as he was preaching at the mosque, witnesses said.

A Reuters witness at a hospital in Jos said 16 bodies had been brought in.

The have been no immediate claims of responsibility, but the two attacks bear the hallmarks of Boko Haram.

Earlier on Sunday a suicide bomber killed six people at a church in northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram insurgents are also suspected of killing more than 200 people a week ago.

Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to eliminate Boko Haram after he was sworn in at the end of May.

Boko Haram has been fighting a six-year insurgency, responsible for the deaths of over 30,000 civilians and security personnel and causing about 1.5 million people to flee their homes,  in a bid to establish a state of its own in northern Nigeria.

TRTWorld and agencies