A Blast in Nigerian Mosque Kills Four People

KANO: An explosion killed four people in the violence-torn city of Maiduguri in Nigeria as Muslim faithful left a mosque after Friday prayers, the military and residents said.

The blast comes after a series of Christmas attacks blamed on Islamist sect Boko Haram killed at least 42 people, most of them outside a Catholic church near the capital Abuja, and raised fears of reprisals from Christians.

“There was a loud blast near the mosque just after the Friday prayers as people were trooping out of the mosque,” one witness said.

“Everybody scampered to safety, leading to a stampede.”Another resident, Mohammed Bukar, reported four dead and others wounded.
“There was confusion following the blast,” he told.

The motive behind this blast is not known yet and no group has taken the responsibility of this attack on the mosque. The most populous country of Africa is facing a severe religious violence these days.

In a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s top Muslim spiritual leader has condemned the attack on the church and appealed people of Nigeria to remain calm and removed the assumptions of religious war in the country.

But sectarian tensions escalated as a result of recent attack near the mosque.

Christian leaders have expressed mounting frustration over the Nigerian authorities’ inability to stop attacks that have killed hundreds of people this year. They warned they will be forced to defend themselves if the authorities do not address the problem.

“When the dust settled, I saw four dead people being loaded into a vehicle along with some wounded in the blast.”A spokesman for a military task force in the region confirmed the blast but could not immediately provide details.

“It’s true there was a blast near Monday market while people were leaving the mosque. We don’t have details yet,” said Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Mohammed.

Boko Haram has carried out scores of attacks in Nigeria, most of them in the northeast. The group’s targets in that region have included Muslim leaders.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.