Friday, November 28, 2014 5:50 pm
Emir Muhammed Sanusi was in Paris, France at the time the multiple bombs exploded in Kano’s Grand Mosque, abutting his palace.
Close sources said the Emir left Nigeria a few days ago and was in no way in harm’s way as the bombs went off.
The blasts happened at the Grand Mosque just as Friday prayers had got under way at about 2:00 pm (1300 GMT).
The blasts came after a bomb attack was foiled against a mosque in the northeastern city of Maiduguri on Friday morning, five days after two female suicide bombers killed over 45 people in the city.
“Two bombs exploded, one after the other, in the premises of the Grand Mosque seconds after the prayers had started,” worshipper Aminu Abdullahi told AFP.
“A third one went off in a nearby road close to the Qadiriyya Sufi order. The blasts were followed by gunshots by the police to scare off potential attacks.”
His account was backed up by another witness, Hajara Tukur, who said she lives nearby.
A senior rescue official said 64 bodies had been brought to just one Kano area hospital, while 126 people had been admitted with injuries at three facilities.
“Those figures are going to climb,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
The Emir of Kano last week told worshippers at the same mosque that northerners should take up arms against Boko Haram, which has been fighting for a hardline Islamic state since 2009.
He also cast doubt on Nigerian troops’ ability to protect civilians and end the insurgency, in rare public comments by a cleric on political and military affairs.
Sanusi was named emir earlier this year and is a prominent figure in his own right, having previously served as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.