KANO, Nigeria (AP) — Multiple explosions tore through the central mosque in Nigeria’s second-largest city on Friday, killing 35 people, police said.
One hundred and fifty others sustained various degrees of injury in the blasts in the city of Kano, State Deputy Police Commissioner Sanusi Lemu said.
Hundreds had gathered to listen to a sermon in a region terrorized by attacks from the militant group Boko Haram.
Witnesses said heavy smoke could be seen billowing in the sky from a long distance away. Immediately after the blasts, hundreds of angry youth took to the streets in riots, throwing stones, brandishing sticks and shouting at security officials.
The palace of the Emir of Kano is near the central mosque. Palace officials told AP that the Emir, one of the highest ranking Islamic figures in Nigeria, is currently out of the country.
Boko Haram has not claimed responsibility, but the attack bears the hallmarks of the militant group that has carried out numerous such attacks in northern Nigeria, including in Kano. In September, two suicide bombers killed at least 15 students at a government college and in July, five suicide bombings were carried out over the course of a week. More than 1,500 have been killed this year in the insurgency.
The attack drew condemnation from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who called the attack “horrific,” pledged U.N. support for Nigeria’s fight against terrorism, and called for the perpetrators to be swiftly brought to justice, according to his spokesman.
Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan condemned the attack and reiterated the government’s determination to “continue to take every step to put an end to the reprehensible acts of all groups and persons involved in acts of terrorism.”
He called on all Nigerians “to remain united to confront the common enemy” by being vigilant and cooperating with security agencies.
He also called on relief agencies and medical staff to “deploy every possible effort to assist the injured” and urged the public to donate blood to the hospitals where they are treated.
Meanwhile, a police anti-bomb squad defused six bombs planted near a mosque and a market in the northeastern city of Maiduguri on Friday, according to Borno state police spokesman Gideon Jubrin.
Fears are running high in Maiduguri, a major commercial center and historic city of more than 1 million people, after two female suicide bombers detonated explosives on Tuesday at a commercial center. At least 70 people were killed.