News Africa

Friday 19 January 2018

At least 21 dead after bomb explodes in Nigerian shopping mall

Firefighters douse cars after a bomb blast at a crowded shopping district in Abuja
Firefighters douse cars after a bomb blast at a crowded shopping district in Abuja

An explosion blamed on Islamic extremists has rocked a shopping mall in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, killing at least 21 people.

The blast came as Nigerians were preparing to watch their country's Super Eagles play Argentina at the World Cup in Brazil. Many shops at the mall have TV screens but it was unclear if the explosion was timed to coincide with the match, which started an hour later.

Witnesses said body parts were scattered around the exit to Emab Plaza, in Abuja's upmarket Wuse 2 suburb.

Police Superintendent Frank Mba said 17 people were wounded and 21 bodies were recovered.

He also said one suspect has been arrested and investigations have already started.

The government urged calm and said it is doing everything possible to "to check the activities of insurgents".

One witness said he thought the bomb was dropped at the entrance to the mall by a motorcyclist.

It is the latest in a series of violent attacks blamed on Islamic extremists.

Abuja is in the centre of Nigeria and the militants have spread their attacks to the capital. Two separate explosions in Abuja in April killed more than 120 people and wounded about 200 at a busy bus station. Both were claimed by terror group Boko Haram, which has threatened further attacks.

Abuja residents were urged "to remain calm and go about their normal business," by government spokesman Mike Omeri who issued a statement saying that security agencies are "handling the situation."

He said that "every step is being taken by the government to check the activities of insurgents in the country and advised Nigerians to remain vigilant and conscious of movement of unidentified people."

Press Association

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