Multiple bomb blasts in Nigeria’s biggest northern city of Kano killed 15 people on Monday, a senior policeman said, in an area previously targeted by militant Islamist group Boko Haram.
According to reports, the first blast occurred at about 9:12 p.m. at Enugu/Igbo Road near International Hotel, while the second blast followed three minutes later, at exactly 9:15 P.M.
Some residents said that a small church sandwiched between two bars had been among the targets.
Several witnesses said they saw dead bodies after hearing multiple blasts in the Sabon Gari district, a predominantly Christian area dominated by ethnic Igbos, full of outdoor bars, eateries and known for its bustling nightlife.
“In all bomb attacks 15 were killed,” a policeman in Kano told Reuters, asking not to be named.
Military spokesman Ikedichi Iweha confirmed there had been a bomb explosion but gave no further details.
“I heard two explode around Enugu Road and another two near Forest Villa Hotel,” said local trader Emeka Mike. “After the blasts I saw many bodies lying on the ground.”
The military did not say who was suspected of carrying out the bombings, but Boko Haram killed at least 25 people in multiple bomb blasts in Sabon Gari in March.
A concerted military crackdown in Boko Haram’s northeast stronghold since mid-May has weakened a 4-year-old insurgency, which is fighting to carve an Islamic state out of religiously mixed Nigeria.
But it has also pushed the militants into hiding and security sources had feared attacks could spread to other areas of northern Nigeria like Kano or to neighbouring countries.
Militants have also shifted their focus away from security forces onto civilian targets, killing children in at least four school attacks over the past month and killing 20 civilians in an attack on a remote northeast village last weekend.
Aside from churches and other targets linked to the Christian community, Boko Haram has attacked the security forces, Muslim clerics and various symbols of authority.