Bomb in Nigerian shopping centre kills at least 21 - Boko Haram suspected - Africa - World - The Independent

Bomb in Nigerian shopping centre kills at least 21 - Boko Haram suspected

The attack could have been timed with the World Cup game against Argentina

At least 21 people have died in an explosion in a shopping area in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.

Police said 17 more were wounded  when the blast ripped through Emab Plaza on Wednesday.

Billows of black smoke could be seen from a mile away and 17 vehicles were gutted by fire.

Soldiers shot one suspect dead as he tried to escape on a bike and police detained a second suspect, government spokesman Mike Omeri, said.

Witness reports that the bomb was dropped at the entrance to the mall by a motorcyclist have not been confirmed.

Islamist militant group Boko Haram are suspected of orchestrating what would be the latest in a long line of bloody attacks on civilians.

Witnesses said body parts were scattered around the shopping area, in the Wuse 11 suburb of the city.

"I heard the explosion and (felt) the building shaking," said Shuaibu Baba, who had a narrow escape.

He said he rushed downstairs to find that the driver who had dropped him off a few minutes earlier was dead.

People watch as smoke fills the sky, after an explosion, at a shopping mall, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in Abuja, Nigeria. People watch as smoke fills the sky after the explosion. Police Superintendent Frank Mba said 17 people were wounded and 21 bodies were recovered. One suspect has been arrested and investigations had already started. 

The blast came as Nigerians were preparing to watch their country's football team play Argentina in the World Cup in Brazil.

Many shops at the mall had television screens but it was unclear if the explosion was timed to coincide with the match, which started an hour later.

Just two days before, eight more people were killed by a bomb at a medical college in northern Kano.

Two separate explosions in April killed 120 people in Abuja and Boko Haram extremists claimed responsibility while threatening further attacks.

The terrorist group attracted international condemnation for abducting more than 200 schoolgirls in April and is blamed for this week's abductions of another 90 people - mostly women and girls and children as young as three.

Boko Haram militants have made their strongholds in impoverished north-eastern Nigeria and the government and security forces have been incapable of responding to their violent campaign.

The group has been fighting for five years to install an Islamic state in the country, which has a high proportion of Muslims in the north, compared to the Christian-dominated south.

Abuja, in the centre of Nigeria, has been the target of several recent attacks but they have become almost daily in other parts.

Last week, at least 14 died in a bomb blast while watching the World Cup in Damaturu and in May, twin car bombs in the central city of Jos left more than 130 people dead.

Abuja residents were urged "to remain calm and go about their normal business" after Wednesday's bombing by government spokesman Mike Omeri, who issued a statement saying that security agencies are "handling the situation".

He added that "every step is being taken by the government to check the activities of insurgents in the country and advised Nigerians to remain vigilant and conscious of movement of unidentified people".

Nigeria's government claims to be winning the war against the five-year insurgency but the frequency and deadliness of attacks has increased this year, killing more than 2,000 people so far in 2014, compared to an estimated 3,600 over the past four years.

Additional reporting by AP

Read more: Boko Haram suspected in more kidnappings
Suicide bomb attack on World Cup viewing venue
What is Boko Haram?
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week