More than 100 people were killed and hundreds more injured in multiple bomb attacks at the Central Mosque in Kano on Friday, witnesses say.
The exact number of deaths are still unclear as police have not issued a figure yet.
A spokesperson for the Kano Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Mustapha Abubakar, said police were “still taking stock of the actual persons that have died” and could not give clear figures as of yet.
But witnesses say the attack was so massive the number of deaths is in hundreds. Some witnesses, who helped with rescue before police arrived at the scene, said the figures may be as high as 300.
The Central Mosque is one of the largest worship centres in the city, and is where the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi, usually leads the prayers.
The emir was away in Saudi Arabia when the attack occurred.
The blast occurred as the Chief Imam of the Mosque, Sani Zahradeen, was about to start the prayers.
According to witnesses, three bombs exploded before three armed men opened fire at fleeing worshippers who survived the explosion.
The first bomb, which went up outside the Mosque, sent worshipers running in all directions. The blast was then followed rapidly by two huge explosions, witnesses said.
Shortly after the attacks, hundreds of angry youth took to the streets in protest, pelting police officers and smashing government installations, sparking fears the city may descend into yet another round of religious unrest.
Residents said the youth were angered by the late arrival of soldiers and police at the scene.
According to a witness, the security forces arrived after the gunmen had escaped. The operatives then allegedly opened fire after they were jeered by frustrated worshippers.
The riot has been quelled by the police, a spokesperson for the force, Mr. Abubakar, said.
“We have taken care of the rioting youths and already we have cordoned up the entire place and for now calm has returned to the city as people do go about their businesses,” he said.
Editor’s Note: This report has been updated with details regardng the arrival of soldiers and police at the scene of the attack.[premium Times]