Stephane Yas / AFP / Getty Images

Twin blasts hit central Nigerian city

Restaurant, mosque hosting Muslim cleric critical of Boko Haram targeted in two attacks hours after blast at church

Two blasts killed at least 15 people in the central Nigerian city of Jos on Sunday evening, with one bomb exploding at an elite restaurant and another targeting a mosque where the Muslim cleric had disowned the armed group Boko Haram, several witnesses said.

Al Jazeera

Plateau State police spokesman Emmanuel Abuh confirmed there had been two attacks in Jos but had no further details immediately.

“I saw people running out crying, some with bloodstains,” said resident Bashir Abdullahi, describing the scene after he said a suicide bomber ran into the crowded restaurant. “I believe many lives were lost.”

 Another bomb exploded at Shagalinku, a restaurant patronized by state governors and other elite politicians seeking specialties from Nigeria's mainly Muslim north.

At least 15 people died there, Mark Lipdo of the Christian-based Stefanos Foundation told The Associated Press.

The second attack targeted cleric Sani Yahaya Jingir as he was preaching at Yantaya Mosque, witnesses said. Gunmen started shooting sporadically and then there was a loud blast, they said.

“We saw two or three vehicles coming from different directions and we started hearing gunshots from all angles and then a very loud bang, like a bomb being thrown into the mosque,” witness Abubakar Shehu said.

The cleric, who belongs to  the Jama'atu Izalatul Bidia organization, which preaches peaceful co-existence of all religions, according to The Associated Press, was addressing a crowd during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to survivors who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

There was no official word on casualties from the two attacks. A witness at a hospital in Jos said at least bodies had been brought in.

A suicide bomber killed six people at a church in northeast Nigeria earlier on Sunday after a week in which suspected Boko Haram fighters killed more than 200 people.

The United States vowed on Sunday to support Nigeria in the wake of the attacks.

“The United States strongly condemns the recent attacks in northeastern Nigeria inflicted by Boko Haram,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

“We will continue to support Nigeria's efforts to bring those responsible for these attacks, as well as previous attacks, to justice,” he added in offering condolences to the families of the victims.

Wire services

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