Explosion hits World Cup viewing area in northeast Nigeria

DAMATURU, Nigeria, (Reuters) – An explosion tore through a venue in the northeast Nigerian town of Damaturu where fans had gathered to watch a World Cup soccer match yesterday, a police official said, declining to give further details.

Several pickup trucks carrying bodies arrived at the nearby General Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital, a hospital source said, adding: “There are also many casualties in the emergency room.”

It was not immediately clear if anyone had been killed, or how many people had been injured. A Reuters witness near the scene heard a loud boom, and some residents said they also heard a second explosion.

Police Commissioner Marcus Danladi confirmed the explosion, adding that police were still trying to gather information.Damaturu is the capital of Yobe state, an area that has been devastated by attacks from militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which in April abducted more than 200 girls from a school in neighbouring Borno state. The Nigerian government has advised residents to avoid gathering in public to watch the World Cup, concerned about possible attacks.

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