Bombs in Nigeria's Kaduna kill 82, ex-leader Buhari targeted

Bombs in Nigeria
# 22 July 2014 23:17 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. At least 82 people were killed on Wednesday in two bombings in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna targeting opposition leader and former president Muhammadu Buhari at a busy market and a moderate Muslim cleric about to lead a crowd in prayer, APA reports quoting Reuters.

The attacks bore the hallmarks of Islamist group Boko Haram but may also have been linked to politics ahead of 2015's elections.

The deadlier blast targeted Buhari's convoy at the crowded Kawo market, his son told Reuters on the scene. A Red Cross official said at least 50 people were killed there.

Buhari was the main opposition party contender against President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 election and remains a key figure in the opposition alliance. He was riding in an armor plated sports utility vehicle and was not wounded.

A crowd gathered at the scene of the incident, until the military dispersed them by firing shots in the air. Smoke rose from another vehicle destroyed in the blast.

Earlier, a suicide bomber targeting a moderate cleric killed at least 32 of his congregation on a busy commercial road.

Thousands were gathered for prayers with Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi in Murtala Muhammed square, and when his convoy pulled up, the bomber lunged at him before being stopped by his private security, witnesses and police commissioner Shehu Umar Ambursa said.

Kaduna's governor Mukhtar Yero declared a 24 hour curfew on the city until further notice and condemned the bombs as "the height of cowardice". "The enemies of peace have visited us with their ungodly venom of wanton destruction," he said in a statement. "Those behind the act have no notion of God, as they have none for the sanctity of human life."

The bomber did not injure Bauchi, several witnesses told Reuters. Mustafa Sani, a volunteer for Bauchi's mosque evacuating bodies, said there were 32 confirmed dead so far.

"Somebody with a bomb vest ... was blocked. He detonated the bomb along with the person that tried to block him," the police commissioner said, adding police had been able to confirm 25 dead, with 14 wounded. Police sometimes give lower casualty tolls than workers on the scene.

The military used pick-up trucks to cordon off the area. Sirens wailed as fire engines raced to the scene.

An angry crowd started throwing stones at police, who responded with teargas. Some followers had come from Senegal, Chad and Niger to see the popular sheikh.

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