Monday, November 3, 2014 2:30 pm
It was a suicide bomber at work in the attack earlier today of a gathering of Muslims Shiites in the town of Potiskum, Yobe state in north east Nigeria.
Fifteen people have been confirmed dead in the blast, according to a local cleric.
“We lost 15 of our members in a suicide blast at the end of our Ashura procession,” said Mustapha Lawan Nasidi, the head of the Shiite community.
He said that 50 people were also injured and claimed that several others died when troops who deployed to the scene opened fire. There was no immediate response from the military.
The blast targeted a procession of worshippers in the Tsohuwar Kasuwa area of Potiskum city, said witness Ibrahim Maina.
The targeted worshippers were gathered outside a seminary in the Tsohuwar Kasuwa area of Potiskum city after visiting the palace of the local emir, said Maina and a police officer who requested anonymity.
Maina blamed the explosion on “a bomb” which went off 10 metres (32 feet) from the emir’s palace.
“It was a huge crowd and many of them were affected,” the policemen said, declining to estimate a death toll. “The priority is to rescue the injured.”
Potiskum is the economic capital of Yobe, which is one of three northeastern states under emergency rule since May of last year because of the insurgency.
The area has seen repeated violence, including attacks on the minority Shiite community.
In July, four Shiites were killed in a bomb attack blamed on Boko Haram at an open-air mosque in the Dogo Tebo area of the the city.
Shi’ites worldwide yearly marked the 10th day of the Muslim new year as the festival of Ashura, an event that defines Shi’ism and its rift with Sunni Islam. The festival is used to commemorate the slaying of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Hussein at the battle of Kerbala in 680. AD.