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Suicide Bomber Kills 21 in Nigeria

  • VOA News

map, Kano, Nigeria

map, Kano, Nigeria

At least 21 people were killed and dozens were injured in a suicide attack Friday near Nigeria’s second-largest city of Kano.

A suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of the annual Shia Muslim Arbaeen procession, officials said.

Hundreds of Shiite Muslims were attending the march from Kano to the ancient Islamic city of Zaria, authorities and religious leaders said.

A second suicide bomber was detained before he could detonate his explosives, and he was being questioned.

No claim of responsibility was made for the bombing, but radical Sunni Muslim group Boko Haram has been blamed for violence in northeast Nigeria over the past six years. The group wants to create an Islamic state, or caliphate, in the northeast part of the country. It wants to impose its strict version of Sharia, or Islamic law, and is hostile to the Shia Muslim version of the religion.

Its uprising has killed 20,000 people and driven 2.3 million from their homes, according to human rights organization Amnesty International.

This year, Boko Haram expanded its attacks into Cameroon, Chad and Niger, countries that are contributing troops to a regional force intended to uproot the extremists.

On Thursday, a Nigerian government spokesman said it would not be possible to eliminate Boko Haram by December, a deadline previously announced by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Global Terrorism Index, issued last week, said that Boko Haram had become the most deadly terrorist group in the world. Deaths attributed to the group in 2014 increased by 317 percent to 6,644.

Islamic State, to which Boko Haram has pledged its allegiance, was responsible for 6,073 terrorist killings last year, according to the index, which is produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, a research group based in Sydney, Australia, that develops metrics to analyze peace and seeks to quantify its economic value.