UPDATED: Emir escapes death as suicide bomber kills five in Maiduguri mosque bombing

A suicide bomber, Friday, detonated a bomb at a central mosque in front of the palace of the Shehu of Borno, the traditional ruler of Borno State, North- East Nigeria.

The blast, which killed five people, occurred after the weekly Friday prayers (about 2.00pm) which was attended by the traditional ruler, Abubakar Garbai, and the State deputy governor, Zanna Mustapha.

Though the two men were not hurt by the blast, five deaths have been confirmed from the attack.

Spokesman for the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Maiduguri, Sagir Musa, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview that five deaths, including the suicide bomber, had been confirmed.  Mr. Musa also said six people, including two soldiers, were injured.

The JTF spokesman explained that the injured soldiers suspected that the bomber, a male teenager, had a bomb on him, when he tried to move towards Mr. Mustapha and the traditional ruler.

It was while attempting to stop the bomber that the explosion went off. The heroic actions of the soldiers possibly saved the life of one of the most respected traditional rulers in (Northern) Nigeria.

Mosque area has a history of violence

The zone around the palace has a history of violence particularly after Friday prayers.

The man who could have been the governor of Borno state, and then governorship candidate off the ruling All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Modu Gobiu, was killed by men on a motorbike on a Friday in the same area.

Mr. Gobiu was killed by the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnati Lil Da’awati wal Jihad, popularly called Boko Haram, who are also suspected to be responsible for this latest suicide bombing.

PREMIUM TIMES  learnt that the area around the palace is a well guarded area where ordinary residents are prevented from going. Though the mosque is under construction, Islamic faithful observe their prayer under a tree by the side of the mosque. Praying there is however restricted to permitted persons.

“In Maiduguri, we have no-go areas, just like the UN No fly zone. In those no-go areas is a shoot and go, and the Shehu’s palace area is one of those areas,” a Maiduguri- based lawyer told PREMIUM TIMES.

The fear of attack from that area, residents say’ has prevented the current governor of Borno State from visiting or praying at the mosque.

“Since the inception of the present administration, the Governor himself never attempts to pray there. He has not gone there,” a senior Borno government official who didn’t want his name in print for fear of victimization said.

Blast marks new start point

Though the Boko Haram are yet to claim responsibility for the attack, sources say the attack could be the sect’s response to ongoing efforts by the new National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, to get support from the Borno chief and other Northern traditional rulers to stop the Boko Haram Killings.

Mr. Dasuki, himself a Fulani prince from Sokoto State, visited Borno, where he met with traditional and religious leaders over the activities of the terrorist sect. The NSA said after the meeting that he had gotten the contacts of some Boko Haram leaders and that he hoped to get a ceasefire with the sect in place before the commencement of the Islamic month, and fasting, of Ramadan.

However, Friday, exactly one week before Ramadan starts, the Boko Haram sect seems to be mocking Mr. Dasuki by this latest attack.

 

Read our earlier post below.

A suicide bomber, Friday, detonated a bomb at a central mosque by the palace of the Shehu of Borno, the traditional ruler of Borno State, North- East Nigeria.

The blast, which killed five people, occurred after the weekly Friday prayers (about 2.00pm) which was attended by the traditional ruler, Abubakar Garbai, and the state deputy governor, Zanna Mustapha

Though the two men were not hurt by the blast, five deaths have been confirmed from the attack.

Al-Jazeera quotes the military spokesman in Maiduguri, Sagir Musa, as saying that “five people have been killed and six others injured in the Maiduguri suicide bomb attack.”

The casualty figure could yet be higher, though soldiers and rescue officials have cordoned off the area.

Details later…


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