At least three persons were killed and 13 others injured after two suicide bomber attacked worshipers during early morning prayers in Gwoza town on Sunday, sources said.
Gwoza is the headquarters of a Borno State local government that shares a similar name. It is one of the reclaimed communities that residents returned after it was sacked by Boko Haram in 2014.
It is also one of the local government areas that still has a large presence of the Boko Haram insurgents at its outskirt communities bordering Cameroon.
Yesterday, the residents were woken by a twin explosion after two suspected suicide bombers detonated their deadly vests near a mosque.
The incident occurred in a neighborhood called Guduf Nagadiyo in Bulabaulin in Gwoza.
The attack, which is the first of its kind after a long time, left many residents horrified.
Security sources said the casualties would have been higher had the suicide bombers made their way into the usually crowded mosque.
The bombers were sighted making an unusual advance toward the mosque, and before worshippers could raise the alarm, the assailants had already gotten to the mosque.
In most northern Muslim communities, early morning congregational prayers are usually attended by males only.
“We thank God that despite their attempts to inflict more damage on lives, they could not gain entry into the mosque, so they ended up exploding outside where there were few persons,” said a local security source who would not mention his name.
“The impact of the two explosions destroyed the mosque but many people were able to pull out of the rubble.
“My ears became blocked for some minutes as I ran out of the mosque towards safety,” said a witness. Among those killed was a 12-year-boy.”
The 13 other injured victims have all been taken to the hospital for treatment.
The source explained why a highly fortified community like Gwoza could be infiltrated by suicide bombers.
“They (Boko Haram) are still there in large numbers in Bayan Dutse (communities behind Gwoza mountains) near Cameroon,” another source, who is a top member of Civilian-JTF said.
“They can only sneak in when the community has activities that involve the influx of people in large numbers. Like yesterday, there was a big wedding in the palace of the Emir, which could have explained why female suicide bombers could easily sneak into the community.”
The military has not officially commented on the incident.
But sources said the troops of 192 Battalion, Gwoza cordoned off the mosque area after the attack.