The police have confirmed 24 worshippers were killed in a twin-explosion on Tuesday at a mosque in Mubi, Adamawa State, North-east Nigeria.
The blasts occurred while worshippers were holding the Zuhr (afternoon) prayer.
The police spokesperson in the state, Othman Abubakar, a superintendent of police, said the first of the blasts occurred at about 1:00 p.m.
‘’While people were evacuating the victims of the first blast, another explosion occurred,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.
‘’As I am talking to you now, 24 persons are confirmed dead. The scene has been cordoned-off by the Anti-bomb squad and other security personnel,’’ Mr Abubakar said.
Eyewitnesses had earlier reported that ‘’many lives were lost and several persons injured.’’
The explosion was allegedly triggered by a teenage boy wearing a suicide vest.
Garba Habu, a local resident, said he counted over eight corpses at the scene.
‘’A boy of about 18-19 -years wearing a suicide vest was said to have entered the mosque along with other worshippers. Immediately after the prayers, he detonated the bomb,” he said.
Another resident, Isa Danladi, said he was about to leave his house near the mosque when he heard the blast
“Many people died on the spot and several others were taken to hospital with severe injuries,” he said.
“The mosque’s roof was blown off. The prayer was mid-way when the bomber detonated the explosives. This is obviously the work of Boko Haram,” he said.
Haruna HammanFuro, head of Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency, described the blast as “devastating”, saying there were “high casualties”.
‘’It was a twin-blast and the detail is sketchy but we are in touch with our partners of Red Cross and others that are helping now.
‘’For now dead bodies are being evacuated and those injured have been taken to hospitals. Right now we are on our way to Mubi,’’ he said.
There was a suicide attack last November on a mosque at Kunu Araha, a northern suburb of Mubi, which also killed dozens of woshippers.
No group has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s carnage but many believe Boko Haram to be behind it.
The insurgents briefly overran Mubi in late 2014 as they rampaged across North-east Nigeria, seizing towns and villages in a quest to establish an Islamic state.
The insurgents changed the town’s name to Madinatul Islam, or “City of Islam” , during their occupation.
In recent months, Boko Haram’s activities had been concentrated in the far north of the state around Madagali, near the boundary with Borno State.
There have been repeated suicide bombings in the area, which lies close to the Sambisa Forest in Borno where the militants had a base.
Boko Haram fighters are also said to be hiding in the Mandara mountains in the east of Adamawa State and on the border with Cameroon.