Two bombs blamed on the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram exploded at a crowded mosque and an elite Muslim restaurant in Nigeria’s central city of Jos, killing 44 people, officials said yesterday.
Sixty-seven other people were wounded in the attacks on Sunday night and were being treated at hospitals, said the country’s national emergency management agency coordinator, Abdussalam Mohammed.
Survivors said the explosion at the Yantaya Mosque came as leading cleric Sani Yahaya of the Jama’atu Izalatul Bidia organisation, which preaches peaceful co-existence of all religions, was addressing a crowd during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Another bomb exploded at Shagalinku, a restaurant popular with state governors and other politicians seeking specialities from Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north.
Jos is a hotspot for violent religious confrontations, located in the centre of the country where Nigeria’s majority Muslim north and mainly Christian south collide. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for past bomb blasts in the city that have killed hundreds of people.
Sunday’s attacks are the latest in a string blamed on Boko Haram that have killed more than 200 people over the past week in north-east Nigeria.
The extremists returned on Sunday to north-eastern villages attacked three days earlier, killing nine villagers and burning down 32 churches and about 300 homes, said Stephen Apagu, chairman of a vigilante self-defence group in Borno state’s Askira-Uba local government area.
He said the vigilantes killed three militants.
Meanwhile, the United States vowed on Sunday to support Nigeria after a series of deadly terror attacks blamed on Boko Haram, calling for those responsible to face justice.
“The United States strongly condemns the recent attacks in north-eastern Nigeria inflicted by Boko Haram,” state department spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement.
“We will continue to support Nigeria’s efforts to bring those responsible for these attacks, as well as previous attacks, to justice,” he added in offering condolences to the families of the victims. — AFP.