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Suicide bombs in Nigeria kill 82; ex-leader targeted

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By Reuters
Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 7:15 p.m.

KADUNA, Nigeria — At least 82 people were killed on Wednesday in two suicide bombings in the north Nigerian city of Kaduna, one aimed at opposition leader and ex-president Muhammadu Buhari and another at a moderate Muslim cleric about to lead a crowd in prayer.

The attacks bore the hallmarks of Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which considers all those who do not share its views to be enemies. But it may also have been linked to politics before the 2015 elections.

In the deadliest attack, a bomber in a car full of explosives hurtled towards Buhari's convoy at the crowded Kawo market, his son told Reuters on the scene and police said later. A Red Cross official said at least 50 people were killed there.

Buhari was the main opposition party contender against President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 election and remains a key figure in the opposition alliance. He was riding in an armor-plated sport utility vehicle and was not wounded.

A crowd gathered at the scene of the explosion until the military dispersed them by firing shots in the air. Smoke rose from another vehicle destroyed in the blast.

“When I came out of my car, I saw many dead bodies littered around,” Buhari said in a statement, calling the attack “mass murder” and “clearly an assassination attempt.”

Earlier, a suicide bomber on foot, targeting a moderate cleric, killed at least 32 of his congregation on a busy commercial road.

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