Suicide bomb attack kills 21 at Shiite procession in Nigeria

Suicide bomb attack hits Shiite Muslim procession in Nigeria’s Kano state killing at least 21 people

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Shiite Muslims march on the highway during a symbolic procession commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Ashura religious ceremony on November 27, 2015 in the village of Dakasoye, northern Nigeria, following a suicide bombing attack

A male suicide bomber killed at least 21 people in an attack on a Shiite Muslim procession in the northern Nigerian city of Kano, as they were walking to the city of Zaria to pay homage to the founder of the country, security sources and a Shiite leader said.

"It was in a bush area, on a farmland along the highway, our concern is to make everywhere safe. The bomb was made of high calibre explosive," police commissioner Muhammad Musa Katsina said, adding that he did not know who was responsible for the bombing.

Kano State Shiite leader Muhammad Turi confirmed that 21 people were killed and more wounded, police also stated that there were casualties but could not give an exact number.

In the latest violence to hit the troubled region, the attack occurred at around 2pm local time (1300GMT) in the village of Dakasoye, some 20 kilometres (13 miles) south of Nigerian city of Kano, during a procession by the followers of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).

IMN organisers accused Boko Haram terrorist group of conducting the attack.

"Our procession came under a suicide attack," Turi, who was leading thousands of people from Kano to Zaria in the neighbouring state of Kaduna, told reporters at the scene.

"We lost 21 people and several others have been injured. We are not surprised that we've been attacked because this is the situation all over the country.”

"This will not deter us from our religious observance. Even if all of us were bombed the last person will carry on with this duty."

The road was covered with bloodstains, but the followers continued to march, an AFP reporter at the scene in Dakasoye said. Most of the followers were wearing black and carrying flags or portraits of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Hussein and were flanked by security guards.

One organiser who spoke anonymously told AFP that the bomber ran into the crowd before he could be spotted and detonated his device.

"He was dressed in black like everyone else. His accomplice was initially arrested and confessed they were sent by Boko Haram," he added.

"They were part of the young men abducted by Boko Haram in (the Borno state town of) Mubi last year and taken to Sambisa Forest where they were given some military training.”

"They were sent to Kano 11 days ago and kept in a house specifically for this attack."

The organiser added that the bomber detonated his device shortly after he realised that his accomplice had been arrested.

The procession, which is an annual event lasting seven days continued after the explosion. During procession, the security forces had been ordered away from the march because clashes between pilgrims and the army caused several people’s death last year, including three sons of its leader Sheikh el-Zakzaky.

The scene where two female suicide bombers blew themselves up at a mobile phone market is cordoned off in the northern Nigerian city of Kano, Nigeria, on November 18, 2015 (Reuters)

Boko Haram frequently uses suicide bombers to hit worship sites, markets and bus stations. After the group lost most of its territory, it pledged allegiance to DAESH terrorist group based in Syria and Iraq.

Last week, at least 14 people were killed and more than 100 others wounded after two female suicide bombers blew themselves up at a mobile phone market in Kano.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has given his military commanders until December to end the conflict, but there are concerns that suicide and bomb attacks may continue.

Senior military, security and intelligence figures questioned the deadline on Thursday and said that it was “unrealistic” due to the increasing number of attacks in the region.

Boko Haram has been attempting to create a state of its own in the northeastern part of the country. The group has killed around 1,000 people since Buhari took office in May and has pledged to crush the militant group.

During the six-year insurgency, 17,000 people were killed and more than 2,6 million people displaced.

TRTWorld and agencies