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Bomb explosion kills 30 in Nigeria

January 01, 2011 08:58 IST

At least 30 people have been killed when a bomb went off at a market near a military barracks in Abuja on New Year's Eve, the state-run TV channel said on Satuday.

The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) reported the casualty figure to be 30 while a local newspaper reporter told PTI that he was able to see unconscious bodies being taken away from the scene by army trucks but could not confirm if they were dead or injured.

Two other bomb explosions were also reported in the city. The second one was said to have exploded at a road leading to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport while the third one was said to have went off at a Church in an area called Nyanya but casualty figures for the two are yet to be known.

The police and emergency service workers could not be reached for comment on the bombing and casualty figures but a top Air Force official confirmed the bombing at a beer drinking spot near the Sani Abacha Barracks. Analysts believe the bombing has revealed the weakness of security agencies, especially the police which commits itself much to torture and bribe taking more than its primary duty of safeguarding lives.

Recently, a Muslim group has claimed responsibility for bomb blasts in Nigeria's central city of Jos which claimed 80 lives and the killings of six persons in neighbouringMaiduguri. The group which called itself, Jama'atu ahlus-Sunnah Lidda'awati but popularly known as Boko Haram said on a website, mansoorah.net that the attacks were carried out "to start avenging atrocities committed against Muslims in those areas and the country in general".

However, another group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta People (MEND) had claimed responsibility for an October 1 blast that killed several people in the capital city and also vowed to bomb the city again. After the bombings in Jos, the oil-rich African country had announced tightening of security in Abuja.

Nigeria is gearing towards a general election in 2011 and disruption of relative peace in the country of 150 million people will make the conduct of polls an uphill task for incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan who has indicated interest to run.

Paul Ohia in Abuja