Boko Haram Bloodbath at Nigeria Mosque

Boko Haram Bloodbath at Nigeria MosqueBoko Haram Bloodbath at Nigeria Mosque

Gunmen set off three bombs and opened fire on worshippers at the main mosque in north Nigeria’s biggest city Kano on Friday, killing scores of people witnesses and officials said, in an attack that bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram militants. At least 81 fatalities were confirmed a few hours after the attacks.

Blasts from the coordinated assault rang out as scores of people packed into the ancient building’s courtyard for afternoon prayers, according to Reuters.

The mosque is next to the palace of the emir of Kano, the second highest Islamic authority in Africa’s most populous country and a vocal critic of Boko Haram.

The emir, former central bank governor Lamido Sanusi, was not present.

Boko Haram regards the traditional Islamic religious authorities in Nigeria with disdain.

It has attacked mosques in a bloody near six-year campaign that has also targeted churches, schools, police stations, military bases and government buildings.

“After multiple explosions, they also opened fire. I cannot tell you the casualties because we all ran away,” a member of staff at the palace told Reuters on Friday.

President Goodluck Jonathan said in statement that he would “not to leave any stone unturned until all agents of terror undermining the right of every citizen to life and dignity are tracked down and brought to justice.”

  A Million Displaced

Authorities sometimes shy away from direct criticism of Boko Haram for fear of reprisals, but Kano’s emir Sanusi, angered by atrocities such as the kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls from the village of Chibok in April, has become an increasingly vocal Boko Haram critic.

The insurgency has forced more than one million people to flee during its campaign focused on Nigeria’s northeast, the Red Cross told reporters on Friday, an increase on a September UN refugee agency estimate of 700,000.

Persistent insecurity is dogging President Jonathan’s campaign for re-election to a second term in February 2015. He has asked parliament for approval to extend an 18-month-old state of emergency in the northeast.