(Reuters) – A suicide bomber killed at least 29 people in a procession of Shi’ite Muslims marking the ritual of Ashoura in northeast Nigeria’s Yobe state on Monday, witnesses said.
In a separate incident overnight in central Kogi state, gunmen using explosives blew their way into a prison in the city of Lokoja, killing one person and freeing 144 inmates, Adams Omale, prisons coordinator for the state, told Reuters.
In the suicide bombing in Potiskum in Yobe state, a territory at the heart of an insurgency by Sunni Muslim Boko Haram rebels, the attacker joined the line of Shi’ites before setting off his device as they marched through a market in the town, resident Yusuf Abdullahi said.
“I heard a very heavy explosion as if it happened in my room. It took place just 200 meters from my house,” he said. Another person carrying an explosive that did not go off was arrested, he said.
Mohammed Gana, whose brother was killed in the attack, said he counted 23 bodies at the scene.
Another Potiskum resident, Abubakar Saliu, said soldiers started shooting immediately after the explosion, but it was not clear who they fired at or if anyone was hit by the gunfire.
Ashoura marks the death in battle more than 1,300 years ago of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Imam Hussein.
Boko Haram’s five-year-old campaign for an Islamic state, which has killed thousands, is seen as the main security threat to Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and leading oil producer.