Shiite faithful dressed in black walk at the scene of a suicide blast in the northeast Nigerian town of Potiskum
Shiite faithful dressed in black walk at the scene of a suicide blast in the northeast Nigerian town of PotiskumGetty

A suicide bomber detonated explosives killing himself and 32 civilians near a religious procession attended by the Muslim Brotherhood in Nigeria.

According to a hospital official, 119 people were wounded, quoting hospital records in Potiskum, the capital of Yobe.

The suicide bomber reportedly embedded himself in the procession as a member and detonated the explosive as they moved around the town.

In Potiskum, Muslim Brotherhood members held two suspects near the suicide bomber explosion and refused to hand them over to the military, said Mohammed Adamu, a tailor who was part of the parade.

As the crowd began beating the suspects with fists and wooden clubs, soldiers fired several shots into the air and one bullet killed a Muslim Brotherhood member, Adamu told AP.

One suspect turned out to be a policeman, and the crowd finally handed both over to the police. An AP reporter saw the two badly beaten men at the hospital, along with two dozen women and children injured in the blast.

It is the first attack in months in Potiskum by suspected members of Boko Haram, which follows the strict Wahabi school of Islam.

Boko Haram insurgents have so far seized control of over 20,000 square kilometers of territory in three North Eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, according to the Daily Trust.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the occupied territory and are now seeking shelter in displaced people's camps. Tens of thousands more have crossed the borders into the neighbouring countries of Niger Republic and Cameroon.

"Life in Boko Haram land is brutish. They kill, harass and brutalise people for unjustifiable reason. They take away young women and girls; and they treat businesses left behind by fleeing residents as war booty," said a man who fled from the militants.

The country is losing territory; soldiers are being killed and losing equipment to insurgents. That does not speak well of the government and the country," said a retired colonel who preferred remain anonymous.

A retired brigadier-general, who also did not want to be named, said: "The insurgents use unconventional ways in their fight against the military. They use anti-aircraft guns and rocket-propelled grenades for ground operations. No conventional army in the world does that.

"This tactic is generally used by guerilla fighters and it is frustrating and can cause the war to drag on for many years."