Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Explosion kills 12 in Nigerian capital, Abuja

ABUJA, Nigeria — A car bomb exploded on a busy road in Nigeria's capital late Thursday, killing at least 12 people days before the city is to host a major international economic forum.

The bomb exploded near a checkpoint across the road from a busy bus station where a massive explosion on April 14 killed at least 75 people. That blast was claimed by the Islamic extremist Boko Harar terrorist network.

Thursday's bomb comes days before Abuja is to host the World Economic Forum on Africa, with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as an honored guest. The government is deploying 6,000 police to protect the May 7-9 event, which attracts world leaders, policymakers, philanthropists and business leaders to discuss Africa's economic growth prospects.

Civil Defense Corps spokesman Emmanuel Okeh said rescuers with ambulances and fire engines rushed to the scene of the blast.

Twelve people have been killed and 19 wounded are in the hospitals, according to Superintendent Frank Mba, the national police spokesman. He said six cars were burned up.

Witnesses said a car laden with explosives drove close to the checkpoint and a man jumped out and ran as it blew up. A deafening explosion was followed by smaller ones as other cars caught fire and fuel ignited, they said, speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of fears for their safety.

Lines of traffic are normal at the checkpoint where soldiers and police search vehicles since the bombing two weeks ago.

Two unexploded IEDs were found at the scene, the Associated Press reported, citing a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. Islamic militants in Nigeria often time secondary explosions to target rescuers and others drawn to a bombing.

While there was no immediate claim for Thursday's bombing, it bears all the hallmarks of Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sinful."

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