By Al Jazeera
Twin bomb attacks have hit a crowded mosque and a restaurant in the central Nigerian city of Jos, killing dozens, according to officials.
At least 44 people were killed by the explosions on Sunday night, including at the Yantaya Mosque, home to Muslim religious leader Sani Yahaya, who preaches co-existence between Nigeria’s different religions.
The attack targeted Yahaya as he was preaching, witnesses said. Gunmen started shooting sporadically and then there was a loud blast.
“We saw two or three vehicles coming from different directions and we started hearing gunshots from all angles and then a very loud bang, like a bomb being thrown into the mosque,” said witness Abubakar Shehu.
Yahaya was known to be critical of the armed group, Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
Another bomb exploded at Shagalinku, a restaurant popular with politicians.
“I saw people running out crying, some with bloodstains,” said resident Bashir Abdullahi, describing the scene after he said a suicide bomber ran into the crowded restaurant. “I believe many lives were lost.”
Abdussalam Mohammed of the National Emergency Management Agency said 67 others were wounded in the attacks and were being treated in hospitals, according to the Associated Press news agency.
The blasts came shortly after a suicide bomber attacked a church in the restive northeastern Nigerian state of Yobe, witnesses and police said, killing five people.
The US has vowed to support Nigeria in the wake of Sunday’s attacks.
“The United States strongly condemns the recent attacks in northeastern Nigeria inflicted by Boko Haram,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
More than 200 people have been killed in a series of attacks by Boko Haram over the past few days. The group wants to implement a strict form of Islamic law in Nigeria.
Source:: Al Jazeera