At least 120 people are feared dead and 270 more injured after gunmen and suicide bombers attacked a mosque in northern Nigeria during Friday prayers this afternoon.
Witnesses reported three separate explosions and said the gunmen opened fire on worshippers in the assault at the Grand mosque in Kano, in the west African country’s second-largest city.
Nigerian Captain Ikechukwu Eze confirmed the blasts at the site where hundreds had gathered to listen to a sermon from the city’s chief imam and prayers were under way at 2pm local time.
Scroll down for video
A crowd looks at the wreckage left after multiple bombings at Grand Mosque in Kano. At least 120 are feared dead and 270 injured after gunmen and suicide bombers attacked the mosque today during Friday prayers
A car damaged from the blasts. Local Muslim leader the Emir of Kano last week called for people to arm themselves against Islamist militant group Boko Haram – whom analysts believe are behind the attack
Analysts said the attack bore the hallmarks of Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The local muslim leader the Emir of Kano had recently called for people to arm themselves against the extremists.
One eyewitness told the BBC’s Focus on Africa: ‘The imam was about to start prayer when he saw somebody in a car trying to force himself into the mosque.
‘But when people stopped him, he detonated the explosions. People started running helter-skelter.’
Grand mosque leader the Emir of Kano, the second highest Islamic authority in the country, usually leads prayers for worshippers. Reports have varied over whether he was present during the attack.
Smoke billows outside the mosque where witnesses reported at least three separate explosions. Hundreds had gathered to listen to a sermon from the city’s chief imam and prayers had already been under way
A witness said the imam ‘was about to start prayer when he saw somebody in a car trying to force himself into the mosque. But when stopped, he detonated the explosions. People started running helter-skelter’
He told gatherers last week that people should wage war against Boko Haram, which have been fighting a guerilla war to bring about a hardline Islamic state in Nigeria’s north since 2009.
The blasts in Kano came after a bomb attack was foiled against a mosque in the northeastern city of Maiduguri earlier today, five days after two female suicide bombers killed over 45 people in the city.
National police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu told AFP that the bombers blew themselves up in quick succession then ‘gunmen opened fire on those who were trying to escape’.
The remains of a victim are rushed away after the bomb and gun attack at the Central Mosque this afternoon
Locals transport the remains to Murtala Mohammed specialist hospital for burial according to Muslim rites
Ojukwu said he did not know whether the suicide bombers were male or female, after a spate of attacks by women in recent months, and did not give an exact figure on the number of gunmen.
But he said an angry mob killed four of the shooters in the chaotic aftermath.
Boko Haram was responsible for the kidnap of more than 200 teenage girls from a school in the town of Chibok in April this year, in the north of Nigeria which is mainly Muslim.
More than 1.5 million Nigerians displaced by the extremist group have been flocking to refugee camps across the country’s northeast, where facilities are overcrowded and there is a shortage of supplies.
More carnage at the Central Mosque in Kano in the country’s north which is mostly a Muslim population