Nigeria’s Mubi: Where terrorism has become routine

Photo of the entrance to the prayer hall, published on Facebook on November 21, 2017.
Photo of the entrance to the prayer hall, published on Facebook on November 21, 2017.


The town of Mubi, in the north-east of Nigeria, was hit by a suicide bomb on the morning of Tuesday, November 21, which killed at least 50 people. The bomb went off after a terrorist entered a mosque and detonated explosives during morning prayers. Our Observer arrived on the scene 30 minutes after it happened, and helped the wounded.

Mubi is a town a few kilometres away from the border with Cameroon, in Adamawa state – a region seen as the heartland of terrorist group Boko Haram. Othman Abubakar, spokesperson for the state police, told AFP, “It was a (suicide) bomber who mingled with worshippers. He entered the mosque along with other worshippers for the morning prayers. It was when the prayers were on that he set off his explosives.”

*Witnesses took photos of the wreckage, including body parts lying on the ground inside the mosque, and published them on Facebook or shared them on WhatsApp. The FRANCE 24 Observers team has chosen not to publish the most graphic images.


"This type of attack is unfortunately all too frequent"

Umar Faruck Musa, a geography teacher and local politician, heard the explosion and immediately went to the attack site. He helped with the rescue operation.

Victims’ bodies were covered in sheets taken from the mosque. November 21, 2017. Photo sent by our Observer.


Around 5 o’clock in the morning, I heard a loud explosion. I left the mosque next to my house, went back home to change, and ran to the Shuwa mosque in the Dezala area in the north of the town.

I got there 30 minutes after the explosion. The first thing I saw really shocked me. It was a corpse, but it was so mangled it was difficult to tell whether it was a human body or not. There were legs lying on the ground a bit further away.


"Morning prayers is the busiest time"


A few dozen graves were dug in the Mubi cemetery after the terrorist attack. Photo sent by our Observer.


I was shocked but I called my friends straight away to ask them to come and help. We helped to take the wounded to hospital, and we buried 17 people in the cemetery.

The mosque was really badly damaged; one wall was destroyed, and the ceilings had fallen in.

I don’t know how many people exactly were in the prayer room at the time of the explosion, but morning prayers is the busiest time.

This afternoon, Mubi is calm: everything is like nothing happened. The only thing is seeing people go to the houses of the families of victims in order to offer their condolences. There’s no difference in terms of a police or army presence. This type of attack has unfortunately become all too frequent.

A wounded person is taken to the hospital in Mubi, on November 21, 2017. Photo sent by our Observer.

For years now, the town of Mubi has been the unfortunate host to repeated suicide attacks. In June 2014, a similar attack, which also wasn’t claimed by a terrorist group, killed at least 40 people in a football stadium during a match. A few months later, in November 2014, the terrorist group Boko Haram entered and occupied the town for two weeks, before being successfully expelled by local militia.