A suicide bomber has killed five people at the central mosque in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, the military has said, the latest attack in a region plagued by Islamist group Boko Haram.
“Five people have been killed and six others injured in the Maiduguri central mosque suicide bomb attack,” military
spokesman Sagir Musa told reporters on Friday.
The attack narrowly missed the deputy governor of Borno state, Zanna Umar Mustapha, and Borno’s Shehu, or 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.
A military official said two soldiers assigned to guard Kanemi were “critically injured” in the attack.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Boko Haram has targeted the Shehu in the past and claimed the assassination last year of Kanemi’s brother.
Boko Haram has said it wants to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria and has disowned traditional religious leaders like Kanemi for allowing themselves to be ruled by Nigeria’s secular government.
In a statement released on Monday, the group also vowed to “continue to hunt for government officials, wherever they are.”
Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people this year, often targeting places of worship, usually Christian churches.
The group claimed responsibility for attacks that killed more than 65 people in volatile central Nigeria last weekend.