At least 25 people were killed in Kaduna, Nigeria, on Wednesday after a bomb targeting an Islamic cleric exploded in a busy commercial area, police said. A second explosion in Kaduna's Kawo market killed 50.
In the first explosion, the bomb was reportedly thrown from the back of a moving motorcycle in an attempted assassination of Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, who led prayers in Murtala Muhammed Square shortly before the explosion, eyewitnesses told Reuters. The cleric was unharmed in the attack.
Yusuf Suleiman, a local trader, told Reuters that he counted at least 15 bodies in a police van. Body parts and damaged vehicles are strewn across Alkali Road near the city center, the BBC adds. While local police have yet to reveal an exact death toll from the blast, a Reuters update regarding the second explosion in Kaduna reports a death toll of 32.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing yet, but militant Islamist group Boko Haram has reportedly carried out a series of bombings and large-scale kidnappings in the region over the last few months. The group often targets moderate Islamic leaders who reject its militant stance.
Boko Haram’s stated goal is to facilitate the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic regime state in Nigeria. Human Rights Watch estimates that Boko Haram is responsible for the deaths of over 2,000 civilians in 2014, Reuters notes.
A Red Cross worker told Reuters that a second explosion in the city's Kawo market killed 50.