International

Nigeria Rattled By Two Explosions In Separate Cities

A man looks at burnt out cars,  at the parking lot of the police headquarters, following an explosion, in Abuja, Nigeria. i i

A man looks at burnt out cars, at the parking lot of the police headquarters, following an explosion, in Abuja, Nigeria. Felix Onigbinde/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Felix Onigbinde/AP
A man looks at burnt out cars,  at the parking lot of the police headquarters, following an explosion, in Abuja, Nigeria.

A man looks at burnt out cars, at the parking lot of the police headquarters, following an explosion, in Abuja, Nigeria.

Felix Onigbinde/AP

Two separate blasts have killed at least nine people in Nigeria today. The first happened when a bomb exploded outside police headquarters in the capital of Abuja. And the other one happened in country's northeast city of Damboa, where an explosion in a house killed three children who were playing nearby.

In both cases, the AP reports, Nigerian police are blaming Boko Haram, a radical Muslim sect.

Bloomberg reports the explosion in Abuja happened "inside the compound of the police headquarters:"

"There were body parts all over the place," said [Yushua Shuaib, a spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency]. "We suspect it was a suicide bomber who was apparently targeting the inspector general."

Authorities in Nigeria's north have previously blamed Boko Haram, which draws inspiration from Afghanistan's Taliban movement, for bomb attacks and killings targeting government officials and security forces. More than 14,000 people died in ethnic and religious clashes between 1999 and 2009 in Nigeria, Africa's top oil producer and most populous nation, according to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.

The BBC World Service talked to a man who was driving past when he saw the blast.

"I saw this thick cloud of smoke," he told the BBC. "I don't know. I've not seen a volcano erupting, but it could be something like that because the whole car was covered."

Here's the BBC's audio of the whole interview:

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