Twin Bombs Kill, Injure Dozens in Nigeria

Twin Bombs Kill, Injure Dozens in NigeriaTwin Bombs Kill, Injure Dozens in Nigeria

Two bombs blamed on the extremist group Boko Haram exploded at a crowded mosque and an elite Muslim restaurant in Nigeria’s central city of Jos, killing 44, officials said Monday.

Sixty-seven others were also wounded in the attacks Sunday night and were being treated at hospitals, said National Emergency Management Agency coordinator, Abdussalam Mohammed, Al Jazerra reported.

The explosion at the Yantaya Mosque came as leading cleric Sani Yahaya of the Jama’atu Izalatul Bidia organization, which preaches peaceful coexistence of all religions, was addressing a crowd during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to survivors who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Another bomb exploded at Shagalinku, a restaurant patronized by state governors and other elite politicians seeking specialties from Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north.

Jos is a hotspot for violent religious confrontations, located in the center of the country where Nigeria’s majority Muslim north and mainly Christian south collide. The city has been targeted in the past by bomb blasts claimed by Boko Haram extremists 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 northeast Nigeria.

The extremists returned Sunday to northeastern 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-defense group in Borno state’s Askira-Uba local government area. He said the vigilantes killed three militants.

Boko Haram took over a large swath of northeastern Nigeria last year and stepped up cross-border raids. A multinational army from Nigeria and its neighbors forced the militants out of towns, but bombings and village attacks increased in recent weeks, apparently in response to an Islamic State group order for more mayhem during Ramadan. Boko Haram became the IS’s West Africa franchise earlier this year.

  Buhari Ill-Equipped

One month after taking office, Nigeria’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari, has not yet named a Cabinet to help him cope with this country’s firestorm of troubles.

The oil-driven economy is in crisis with a months-long fuel shortage, the naira currency is falling, tens of thousands of state civil servants have been unpaid for months and northeast Nigeria continues to be plagued by violence from extremists.

Buhari is scheduled to meet with US President Barack Obama at the White House on July 20, where talks are expected to focus on US help in the fight against Boko Haram.

In the latest blow to Africa’s largest economy, a government body last week revealed that more than $20 billion in oil revenue are missing, and the excess crude account—the government’s rainy day savings fund—has shrunk from $4.1 billion in November to $2 billion now.

Buhari promptly fired the entire board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. and he’s promised to recover stolen state funds.

The president’s supporters say Buhari’s reputation as an anti-corruption crusader is helping spur a needed culture change in Nigeria.