MAIDUGURI, (Nigeria): A suicide bomber killed five people at the central mosque in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Friday yesterday, the military said, the latest attack in a region plagued by Islamist Boko Haram insurgents.
“Five people have been killed and six others injured in the Maiduguri central mosque suicide bomb attack,” military spokesman Sagir Musa told reporters.
The attack narrowly missed the deputy governor of Borno state, Zanna Umar Mustapha, and Borno’s Shehu (regional religious leader), Abubakar Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, who were attending Muslim Friday prayers.
“The suicide bomber, who was about 15 years old, was pushed between me and the Shehu before detonating the bomb. Fortunately we both escaped unhurt,” Mustapha told reporters.
Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people this year in an insurgency against President Goodluck Jonathan, seeking to carve out an Islamic state in Africa’s most populous country and biggest oil producer.
The sect often targets government officials, religious figures and places of worship, usually Christian churches.
Security experts believe Boko Haram’s attacks on religious centres in central and northern Nigeria are an attempt to provoke wider religious conflict in the country.
Boko Haram claimed responsibility for attacks that killed more than 65 people in volatile central Nigeria last weekend.