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?
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
peopleFilm star says he is 'not interested in making money anymore'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
Sport
footballAccording to revelations from Sergio Aguero's new biography
News
news
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Life and Style
Meow! ... Again, Kim Kardashian goes for a sexy Halloween costume, wrapping her body with a latex catsuit and high heeled knee boots
fashionFrom Heidi Klum to Kim Kardashian
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Extras
indybest
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
Arts and Entertainment
filmsOculus Rift offers breathtakingly realistic simulation of zero gravity
Life and Style
tech

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

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Senior Research Fellow in Gender, Food and Resilient Communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker