At least four people have been killed in a bomb blast in Nigeria’s second-biggest city, Kano, on a busy street of bars and night spots in a predominantly Christian enclave.
Some officials said as many as 15 people were killed in the explosion on Sunday night, although this was unconfirmed. The blast was reportedly a suicide car bomb in the Sabon Gari neighbourhood, with a 12-year-old girl among the victims. Kano is the commercial capital and biggest city in northern Nigeria, a mainly Muslim region. Within the city, Christian migrants from southern Nigeria live primarily in Sabon Gari, filled with many churches and liquor stores – often a target for the Islamist extremists of Boko Haram, the same group that kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in northeastern Nigeria last month.
Mohammad Alhaji, commander of a unit of neighbourhood watch volunteers in Kano, said soldiers and police gathered 15 bodies from the scene of the bombing. Other reports, however, quoted witnesses and police officials saying that four or five people were killed and several wounded.
Nobody was able to confirm who was responsible for the explosion, but Boko Haram has used bombs in a prolonged insurgency in northern Nigeria and in Abuja, the capital. It has claimed responsibility for two blasts that killed at least 89 people in Abuja on April 14 and May 1.
Kano suffered a wave of bombings in 2012 and 2013, but has seemed relatively safe since then.
The main Catholic cathedral in Sabon Gari is protected by a double fence to prevent car bombers from getting close. All visitors are searched, and the cathedral is surrounded by razor wire. “People still have a fear that someone will sneak into the church with a bomb,” said Father Gabriel Ikor, a priest at the cathedral.