At least 64 dead, 126 injured in Nigeria mosque bombings: rescue official

The Emir was said to be inside the mosque at the time, with the explosions happening in an outdoor courtyard

Published: Updated:

A double bombing during Friday prayers at one of Nigeria's most prominent mosques killed at least 64 people and injured another 126, a rescue official told Agence France Presse.

The official, who requested anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media, said 64 bodies had been brought to just one Kano area hospital after the attack at the city's central mosque, and the wounded figure reflected statistics from three hospitals.

"Those figures are going to climb," he told AFP.

Two explosions on Friday rocked the mosque of one of Nigeria’s best known Islamic leaders, the Emir of Kano, as worshippers gathered for weekly prayers.

“Two bombs exploded, one after the other, in the premises of the Grand Mosque seconds after the prayers had started,” Aminu Abdullahi said, adding that a third went off nearby.

The Emir, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was said to be inside the mosque at the time, with the explosions happening in an outdoor courtyard.

Abdullahi and another witness, Hajara Tukur, who said she lives nearby, said the police began firing weapons in the chaos that followed the blasts, as worshippers began scrambling for safety.

Preaching at Kano’s Grand Mosque last week, the emir urged northerners to take up arms against Islamist group Boko Haram and cast doubt on the military’s ability to protect civilians and end the insurgency.

The Emir of Kano is a hugely influential figure in Nigeria, which is home to more than 80 million Muslims, most of whom live in the north.

Officially the emir is the country’s number two cleric, behind the Sultan of Sokoto.

Sanusi, who was named emir earlier this year, is a prominent figure in his own right, having previously served as the chief of Nigeria’s central bank, where he spoke out against massive government fraud.

An attack on Sanusi could inflame tensions in Kano, Nigeria’s second city and most populous in the north.