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Nigeria: Suicide bombing at mosque in Borno state Jan. 3

Suicide bomber attacks mosque in Gamboru, Borno state, January 3; at least 11 people killed

03 Jan 01:17 PM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 1/3/2018, 12:00 AM until 1/3/2018, 11:59 PM (Africa/Lagos). COUNTRY/REGION Borno State, Nigeria

Event

A suicide bomber carried out an attack at a mosque in the town of Gamboru, Borno state (northeast), on Wednesday, January 3. According to local reporting, the bomber entered the mosque during dawn prayers, disguised as a worshipper. At least 11 people are believed to have been killed in the blast and the death toll is expected to rise. Further reports indicate that an hour before the explosion a local vigilante group had spotted four suspected bombers on the outskirts of the town. One was caught and two fled the area, while the fourth is believed to be the mosque bomber. Boko Haram are suspected of being behind the attack, though have yet to claim responsibility.

The bombing comes barely 24 hours after the Borno state government announced the temporary reestablishment of a ten-hour curfew - in place nightly from 20:00 to 06:00 (local time) - across the state until Saturday, January 6.

Context

Boko Haram had captured Gamboru in August 2014 but the town was recaptured by the military in September 2015. The terrorist group has nonetheless continued to successfully execute attacks in the Gamboru-Ngala area since its liberation, for example a December 16 attack against a UN convoy carrying food to an IDP camp (four killed).

The counterinsurgency effort against Boko Haram that began in 2015, led by West African states (Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger), has greatly diminished the extent of the group’s effective territorial control. However, Boko Haram still routinely carries out deadly terrorist attacks, particularly in the northeastern region of Nigeria. Boko Haram frequently attacks private homes in villages, public venues (markets, places of worship, schools, bars, areas where broadcasts of sports competitions are displayed, etc.), security forces, and governmental buildings. The group's modus operandi frequently includes suicide bombings and kidnappings (regularly followed by assassinations and targeting primarily foreign nationals).

Advice

Individuals in Borno state are advised to follow any instructions issued by authorities and abide by all curfews in effect.

The security environment in Nigeria is complex and is particularly concerning in the northeast and extreme south of the country due to the presence of armed groups, high crime rates, and the risk of kidnapping. Some Western governments consequently advise against travel to certain areas of the northeast (e.g. states of Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, and Jigawa as well as parts of Kano and Adamawa states) and the southern Niger Delta region (e.g. states of Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers). Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel to these areas.

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