“A lone suicide bomber blew himself up while targeting some dignitaries coming back from the Friday prayers near the Shehu’s palace. Five people have been killed,” said Bala Hassan, confirming the blast in the state capital Maiduguri.
The Shehu of Borno, Umar Garbai el-Kanemi, the top Islamic leader in the state, appeared to have been the target, according to the deputy governor of Borno, Zannah Mustapha.
Kanemi was reportedly not hurt in the attack.
Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists have long stated their loathing for Kanemi, a symbol of Islamic tradition in northern Nigeria.
The group claimed the assassination last year of his brother, and Kanemi’s personal residence was recently attacked.
Mustapha said that he was among the group standing outside the mosque near the leader’s palace after prayers.
A young man of around 16 years approached and blew himself up, splattering the Kanemi’s garments with blood and flesh, according to Mustapha.