Nigeria: Five suicide bombings kill 34, most of them at mosque

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Most of the victims were at a mosque targeted during evening prayers

Suicide bombers strike in and around Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria

The region has been plagued for years by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram

CNN —  

A series of suicide bombings in and around the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri has killed 34 people, most of them at a mosque that was targeted during evening prayers, the National Emergency Management Agency said Friday.

The agency said a total of 49 people were wounded. There has been no claim of responsibility.

The first bombing happened Thursday evening as worshippers gathered at a mosque for evening prayers. According to Mohammed Kanar, the coordinator for NEMA in northeast Nigeria, residents said the bomber entered the mosque disguised as a worshipper and set off his explosives inside, killing 14 people.

A second bomber was waiting outside, and as residents and first responders rushed to the scene, he blew himself up and killed 16 people, Kanar said.

The bombs wounded 32 people, seven of whom were in critical condition.

Friday morning, three women carried out separate suicide bombings in Umarari Bayan Waya, on the outskirts of Maiduguri, Kanar said. Four people were killed and 17 wounded.

Maiduguri ridden by violence

The capital of Borno state, Maiduguri has been beset for years by such bloody attacks, which have been supported, planned and carried out by members of Boko Haram.

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The Islamist extremist group has shown no mercy in its quest to impose its strict version of Sharia law across Nigeria, which is split between a majority Muslim north and a mostly Christian south.

While it wasn’t immediately known whether Boko Haram is to blame for the five suicide bombings, such attacks would be consistent with its grisly past – one that shows little apparent distinction between killing innocent civilians or uniformed officers and troops.

The group has killed hundreds in attacks on many civilian targets like marketplaces, churches and mosques. It has also conducted mass kidnappings, the most notorious being the abduction of more than 200 girls last year from a school in the northeastern city of Chibok. The girls’ fate remains a mystery.

Journalist Aminu Abubakar contributed to this report.