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Thursday 12 December 2019

Many feared dead in new city blast

Protesters march from the Nigerian High Commission to Downing Street calling for the return of the kidnapped schoolgirls
Protesters march from the Nigerian High Commission to Downing Street calling for the return of the kidnapped schoolgirls

Many are feared dead tonight after an explosion ripped through an outdoor venue in the Nigerian city of Jos packed full of soccer fans watching the Champions League final.

The suspected car bomb came four days after twin car bombs blamed on Islamic extremists killed at least 130 people in the central city.

It was not far from the bustling marketplace targeted in Tuesday's bomb attack. National Emergency Management Agency official Eugene Nyelong said it appeared to be another car bomb and many were feared dead because the outdoor theatre was packed to capacity.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack.

The Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, which has been threatening to sell nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls into slavery recently, has been waging a two-pronged campaign of urban bombings and rural attacks on north-eastern villages.

Separate attacks in April killed about 100 people in Abuja, Nigeria's central capital, and a car bomb that exploded prematurely killed at least 24 people in Kano, the country's second most populous city, on Monday.

The daily attacks appear to be in defiance of an international campaign to rescue the girls and a commitment made at a summit of Nigeria, its neighbours and Western leaders in Paris a week ago to unite to wage total war on the Boko Haram movement.

Thousands have been killed in the five-year-old Islamic uprising to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state though the country's population is almost equally divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.

Jos sits on a fault line in central Nigeria where the two meet and the attacks are seen as an attempt to ignite religious rivalries that have erupted with deadly frequency though the city has been peaceful until recently.

The majority Christian city has been tense since Tuesday's attack but it did not provoke any collateral conflict.

Many of those killed on Tuesday were burned beyond recognition and families and friends still were looking for missing loved ones.

President Goodluck Jonathan and his government are confronting national and international outrage at their failure to rescue the abducted girls.

PA Media

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