- Title: NIGERIA: Death toll from Abuja bus station bomb blast rises to 71
- Date: 14th April 2014
- Summary: AMBULANCES WITH TRACES OF BLOOD OFFICIALS HANDLING HUMAN REMAINS BY STRETCHER
- Embargoed: 29th April 2014 13:00
- Location: Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Crime,General,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA703BKAK6N3FNZY1RMI2KHXKS0
- Story Text: A morning rush hour bomb killed at least 71 people at a Nigerian bus station on the outskirts of the capital on Monday (April 14), raising concerns about the spread of an Islamist insurgency after the deadliest ever attack on Abuja.
Suspicion fell on Boko Haram, though there was no immediate claim of responsibility from the Islamists who are mainly active in the northeast. As well as 71 dead, police said 124 were wounded in the first attack on the federal capital in two years.
The bus station, 8 km (5 miles) southwest of central Abuja, serves Nyanya, a poor, ethnically and religiously mixed satellite town where many residents work in the city.
Bloody remains lay strewn over the ground as security forces struggled to hold back a crowd of onlookers and fire crews hosed down a bus still holding the charred bodies of commuters.
Security experts suspect the explosion was inside a vehicle, said Air Commodore Charles Otegbade, director of search and rescue operations.
"The minimal information that we can gather so far was that the explosion emanated from a vehicle. The nature of the explosion we are unable to 100 percent ascertain, you know, but the explosion came from inside a vehicle and it affected quite a number, quite a number of people," Otegbade said.
Frank Mba, police spokesman said the death toll could still change.
"A lot of people are in the hospital, our detectives are visiting the hospitals and taking counts; we want to give you figures that we can back up with empirical facts so we want to appeal to you for patience, we want to appeal for understanding," Mba said.
Anthony Adikwu, resident in Abuja, said the bus station was usually a very busy place.
The attack underscored the vulnerability of Nigeria's federal capital, built in the 1980s in the geographic centre of the country to replace coastal Lagos as the seat of government for what is now Africa's biggest economy and top oil producer.
Boko Haram militants are fighting to carve out an Islamic state out of Nigeria.
They have been particularly active there over the past few months and are increasingly targeting civilians they accuse of collaborating with the government or security forces.
Their attacks have largely been confined to the remote northeast.
There had been no such violence near the capital since suicide car bombers targeted the offices of the newspaper 'This Day' in Abuja and the northern city of Kaduna in April 2012. Security forces at the time said that was because a Boko Haram cell in neighbouring Niger state had been broken up.
A Christmas Day bombing of a church in Madalla, on the outskirts of Abuja, killed 37 people in 2011, although the main suspect in that attack is now behind bars.
Boko Haram also claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on the United Nations' Nigeria headquarters that killed 24 people on August 26, 2011.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None