Suicide bomb blasts at a Nigerian mosque

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Two female suicide bombers have attacked a mosque in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, killing 22 worshippers, emergency officials say.

The first bomber struck inside the mosque, while the second blew herself up outside as survivors tried to flee, eye witnesses told the BBC.

Seventeen other people were wounded in the attack, an official told AFP.

Militant Islamists Boko Haram have often targeted the city in their seven-year insurgency.

“We were just a few metres away from the mosque when a loud bang erupted and all we could see was dark smoke and bodies littered around,” another witness told Associated Press news agency.

The attack took place a few minutes after worshippers started an early morning prayer, the chief imam of Umarari mosque on the outskirts of the city told the BBC Hausa service.

All the wounded have been taken to hospital, he added.

Boko Haram at a glance:

Boko Haram has sworn allegiance to Islamic State and often displays its trademark black flag
Boko Haram has sworn allegiance to Islamic State and often displays its trademark black flag
  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, hundreds abducted, including at least 200 schoolgirls
  • Joined so-called Islamic State, now calls itself IS’s “West African province”
  • Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
  • Regional force has retaken most territory this year
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