Mosque blasts kill at least 55 in Nigeria’s Yola, Maiduguri

At least 55 people dead, more than 100 injured in two bomb attacks in northeastern Nigerian cities of Yola and Maiduguri, officials say

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

People inspect a damaged mosque following an explosion in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015.

Two bomb attacks have killed at least 55 people and injured more than 100 in Nigeria’s north-eastern Yola and Maiduguri, the capital cities of Adamawa and Borno states respectively, according to reports released by officials.

Twenty-eight people were reportedly killed in the first blast which occurred early on Friday morning in Maiduguri, as worshippers arrived for dawn prayers.

Umar Sani, a civilian assisting the military in counter-attacks against Boko Haram and local resident Musa Sheriff both informed Agence France Presse two blasts took place at the mosque.

"I was involved in the evacuation. We counted 28 dead bodies apart from the two bombers, who were identifiable by the mutilation of their bodies," Sani stated.

"Over 20 other people were injured."

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) reported that only six people were killed while 17 were injured, but hospital sources rose the death toll to 19.

Two other people were detained and handed over to the military for interrogation after they were publicly seen to be celebrating following the blasts, Sani and Sheriff reported.

"To them it was a mission accomplished," Sheriff added.

A picture taken on October 23, 2015 in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria, shows people standing in a mosque following a suicide bombing.

A second and large explosion, which also targeted worshippers attending Friday prayers at the newly built Jambutu Juma'at mosque in the Jimeta area of Yola, killed at least 27 people and injured 96.

A volunteer at the mosque, who assisted in the rescue effort but asked to stay anonymous, said, "This mosque was nearly built and this was the first prayers in it.”

"While worshippers had risen for the prayers to start after the sermon by the imam, there was a huge blast in the premises," the volunteer continued.

NEMA's coordinator in Adamawa state capital, Sa'ad Bello, reported that 116 people were being treated for injuries ranging from fractures and burns to cuts from the blast.

And the spokesperson for NEMA, Sani Datti, added that the victims suffering from injuries were rushed to the Federal Medical Center, Yola and Specialist Hospital Jimeta, Adamawa state.

One suicide bomber was reported to have been involved, according to an eyewitness on the ground - a resident identified as Manaseh Adamu - but it is still not clear who is responsible for carrying out the bomb attacks.

However, Boko Haram has previously carried out many similar attacks in the region, targeting both Christians and Muslims who fail to adhere to their ideology.

And Boko Haram has frequently targeted mosques in northern Nigeria.

On Thursday last week, at least 29 people, mainly worshipers, were reportedly killed after two male suicide bombers targeted the main mosque in Moltai in Maiduguri.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has given military chiefs a deadline of December by which to eliminate Boko Haram's presence in the country.

However, there are doubts among locals as to whether the deadline can be met as more suicide attacks have hit parts of Nigeria since the order was given in August.

TRTWorld and agencies