A mosque in Kano, Nigeria, was attacked by suicide bombers and gunmen, who killed at least 81 people and injured over 100 others just as Friday prayers were about to commence. No group has claimed responsibility, but the coordinated attack bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram militants.
The mosque adjacent to the palace of the emir of Kano was crowded with worshipers on Friday afternoon when a car tried to drive through the crowd and penetrate one of the mosque’s gates. Worshipers stopped the car which then exploded before reaching the gate.
Two more suicide blasts erupted in quick succession amid the crowds inside the mosque’s perimeter wall. Witnesses reported seeing children trampled as people scrambled to escape the area.
Several gunmen then opened fire on people as they fled. Angry crowds overwhelmed at least four of the gunmen and killed them on the spot.
Young men, angry at the failure by police to prevent the attack, vandalized police cars and damaged government buildings. When police arrived at the mosque after what witnesses described as a long delay, they were prevented from entering the mosque by angry crowds. Police later gained entry after using teargas to clear the entrance to the mosque.
Kano is the biggest city in northern Nigeria, and has been repeatedly targeted by Boko Haram militants. The mosque which was attacked is presided over by the emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, who, earlier in November, called on the people of northern Nigeria to defend themselves against Boko Haram. The emir, who was Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank until earlier this year, was abroad when the attack took place.