Nigerian bus station bombing kills 71 on edge of capital

ABUJA (Reuters) – A morning rush hour bomb killed at least 71 people at a Nigerian bus station on the outskirts of the capital yesterday, raising concerns about the spread of an Islamist insurgency after the deadliest ever attack on Abuja.

President Goodluck Jonathan pointed the finger of suspicion at Boko Haram
President Goodluck Jonathan pointed the finger of suspicion at Boko Haram

President Goodluck Jonathan pointed the finger of suspicion at Boko Haram, although there was no immediate claim of responsibility from the Islamist militants who are active mainly in the northeast. As well as the dead, police said 124 were wounded in the first attack on the federal capital in two years.

Visiting the scene, Jonathan denounced “the activities of those who are trying to move our country backwards” by staging such an attack. “We will get over it … The issue of Boko Haram is temporary,” he said, imploring Nigerians to be more vigilant in the face of suspicious characters.

Security experts suspect the explosion was inside a vehicle, said Air Commodore Charles Otegbade, director of search and rescue operations. 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.

“I was waiting to get on a bus when I heard a deafening explosion, then saw smoke,” said Mimi Daniels, who escaped from the blast with minor injuries to her arm. “People were running around in panic.”

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.

“These are the remains of my friend,” said a man, who gave his name as John, holding up a bloodied shirt. “His travel ticket with his name on was in the shirt pocket.”

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 increasingly targeting civilians they accuse of collaborating with the government or security forces. Amnesty International estimates the conflict has killed 1,500 people in the past year.

The police said its agencies were on “red alert”, and urged Nigerians to help with an investigation to find the killers.

More in World News


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning:

Most Read This Week

  1. Convicted drug trafficker Barry Dataram about to be handed over to local enforcement officials by the Suriname police. Inset is the information page in the fake passport for “David Persaud” that was being used by the fugitive. (Royston Drakes photos)

    Dataram, wife returned to Guyana

  2. Back in court: In this Keno George composite photo, Barry Dataram (left) and his wife Anjanie Boodnarine at court yesterday to answer three charges including fleeing the jurisdiction.

    Dataram to serve eight years in jail after guilty plea to new charges

  3. Yansen Brusche

    Ulverston mom of four stabbed to death by children’s father

  4. Ameer Subrati

    Man dies after bandits target overseas-based couple at Herstelling

  5. US Ambassador Perry Holloway and Finance Minister Winston Jordan shake hands after the signing of the agreement yesterday.

    Guyana inks pact for reporting to IRS on holdings of US citizens

  6. Updated: Man dies after bandits attack overseas-based Guyanese at Herstelling

  7. Barry Dataram

    Datarams getaway passports had been issued to other people

  8. Bharrat Jagdeo

    Crime has never been this bad – Jagdeo

  9. Dr. Prudence Lewis-Bhola

    Prudence Lewis-Bhola appointed as CEO of broadcasting authority

Recommended For You