The Shehu of Borno, Umar Garbai Abba Kyari, and the Deputy Governor of Borno, Zanna Umar Mustapaha escaped an attack by a suicide bomber this afternoon that claimed several lives.
The suicide bomber, who struck around 2 p.m., shortly after Friday prayers, targeted the palace of the Shehu of Borno in Maiduguri, Borno State. A source disclosed that the bomb was detonated just a few meters away from the Shehu and the deputy governor. Some eyewitnesses described the bomber as a youthful male, possibly a teenager.
“The bomber was moving towards the Shehu of Borno in an aggressive way and the traditional ruler’s security people tried to stop him. Then the bomb exploded,” said one of the witnesses.
Several witnesses put the death toll at more than ten people. However, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, an official of the Joint Task Force, an anti-terror group made up of the police and soldiers, told reporters that only five persons died in the attack. He claimed that six other persons, among them two soldiers, were wounded.
A palace source told SaharaReporters that the explosion occurred as the Shehu was being escorted to the palace after Friday prayers. The explosion reportedly injured the ward head of Galtimari, Lawan Makinta, and some children in the Shehu’s entourage.
The area around the palace has been cordoned off by men of the Joint Task Force comprising of army and the Nigerian police force.
As the time of this report, no group had taken responsibility for the attack. However, a security source told SaharaReporters that the blast bore the signature of Boko Haram, the militant Islamist sect based in Maiduguri and the north eastern part of Nigeria. The group is waging an increasingly bloody insurrection against the Nigerian state.