More than 100 people are feared to have died in a terrorist attack on a mosque in the north of Nigeria believed to have been carried out by Boko Haram.
At least 81 people died, according to staff at two hospitals, but other reports put the number of fatalities closer to 120 with a further 400 people injured.
A second attack was thwarted when a police bomb squad defused up to six explosive devices that had been planted near a mosque and a market in the north eastern city of Maiduguri, the scene of a double suicide attack on a market place earlier in the week.
Worshippers in the city of Kano were killed by up to three bombs which exploded simultaneously in or close to the central mosque before terrorists opened fire with automatic weapons.
Those behind the attack have yet to be identified but observers said it bore the hallmarks of the extremist Islamic group Boko Haram.
The mosque targeted in the deadly attack last night is next to the palace of the emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, who is the second highest Islamic authority in Nigeria and recently spoke out against Boko Haram during a sermon.
He usually leads the prayers at the mosque but was said to be out of the country when the bombs went off.
“These people have bombed the mosque. I am face to face with people screaming,” said Chijjani Usman, a reporter who had gone to the mosque in the old city to pray.
In pictures: Nigeria kidnapped schoolgirls
In pictures: Nigeria kidnapped schoolgirls
A total of 276 girls were abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok, in Borno state, which has a sizeable Christian community. Some 223 are still missing
One of the kidnapped girls looks into a camera
One of the missing girls talking to the camera
The missing Nigerian schoolgirls, wearing the full-length hijab and praying in an undisclosed rural location. Boko Haram alleging they had converted them to Islam
Girls wearing the full-length hijab holding a flag reading "There is no god, but Allah" and "Mohammed is Allah's prophet"
A man claiming to be the leader of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau
Abubakar Shekau speaks on the video
Girls, wearing the full-length hijab and praying are filmed by an unidentified man (R) in an undisclosed rural location
People carry signs as they attend a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls in the remote village of Chibok in Lagos
A protester demonstrates against the kidnapping of school girls in Nigeria, outside the Nigerian Embassy in London
Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour and Prime Minister David Cameron appearing on the BBC1 current affairs programme
People participate in a "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign demonstration and candlelight vigil in Los Angeles
Girls holding heart shaped banners in a "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign demonstration and candlelight vigil in Los Angeles
14/19 South Africa
South Africans protest in solidarity against the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria by the Muslim extremist group Boko Haram and what protesters said was the failure of the Nigerian government and international community to rescue them, during a march to the Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg
Karilyn Coates (10) joins others in a candlelight vigil for the more than 300 girls abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Colorado Springs
Mothers of the missing Chibok school girls abducted by Boko Haram Islamists gather to receive informations from officials. Nigeria's president said that Boko Haram's mass abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls would mark a turning point in the battle against the Islamists, as world powers joined the search to rescue the hostages
Former Nigerian Education Minister and Vice-President of the World Bank's Africa division (3rd L) Obiageli Ezekwesilieze speaks as she leads a march of Nigeria women and mothers of the kidnapped girls of Chibok, calling for their freedom in Abuja
18/19 Bring Back Our Girls
Kelly Hoppen tweeted: 'Please make sure you do this, we must stand together and not forget them'
19/19 Bring Back Our Girls
E.L. Rock Star tweeted: 'Join The Movement'
A witness told the BBC: “The imam was about to start prayer when he saw somebody in a car trying to force his way into the mosque. But when people stopped him, he detonated the explosions. People started running helter-skelter.”
President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the attack and urged Nigerians to “remain united to confront the common enemy”. He promised that every possible step would be taken “to put an end to the reprehensible acts of all groups and persons involved in acts of terrorism”.
Shortly after the attack, hundreds of angry youths took to the streets wielding sticks, throwing stones and hurling abuse at security officials in a sign of growing frustration at the government’s failure to deal with the threat posed by Boko Haram.
There were reports that some of the dead were killed when security forces opened fire to disperse protesters.
Militants from the Sunni group have killed more than 2,000 people this year in attacks on a variety of targets including police stations, churches, military bases, government buildings and mosques.
The group regards many of Nigeria’s mosques as legitimate targets because it considers the religious authorities to be a corrupt elite that is too close to the secular rulers.
Meanwhile, three expatriate construction workers were kidnapped yesterday in Nigeria’s Bayelsa state in the delta region, a security forces spokesman added.
The men, two Pakistani and one Indian, were seized at Emakalakala town in the Ogbia council area.Reuse content