At least 21 people were killed on Friday when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the crowds at a Shia Muslim procession near the north Nigerian city of Kano, in the latest violence to hit the troubled region.
The attack happened in the village of Dakasoye, some 20 kilometres south of the city, during a march by followers of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.
“Our procession came under a suicide attack,” Muhammad Turi, who was leading thousands of people from Kano to Zaria, in the neighbouring state of Kaduna, told reporters at the scene.
“We lost 21 people and several others have been injured. We are not surprised that we’ve been attacked because this is the situation all over the country.
“This will not deter us from our religious observance. Even if all of us were bombed the last person will carry on with this duty.”
An AFP reporter in Dakasoye said the road was splattered with bloodstains but the followers had continued their march.
One organiser, who asked to remain anonymous, told AFP the bomber ran into the crowd before he could be spotted and detonated his explosives.
“He was dressed in black like everyone else. His accomplice was initially arrested and confessed they were sent by Boko Haram,” he added.
“They were part of the young men abducted by Boko Haram in (the Borno state town of) Mubi last year and taken to Sambisa Forest where they were given some military training.
“They were sent to Kano 11 days ago and kept in a house specifically for this attack.”
The bomber detonated his explosives after realising his accomplice had been arrested, the organiser added.
Boko Haram, the radical Sunni jihadists who want to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria, has previously been blamed for attacks on Shia Muslims in the region.