ABUJA: At least 11 people were killed in an explosion at a crowded market in Nigeria’s capital Abuja late on Friday, military and medical sources said.
The blast occurred at Mammy market, within the grounds of the Sani Abacha barracks, a busy area where people congregate to socialise.
“It is a very unfortunate incident, it has claimed many lives. It happened where people were relaxing in the barracks,” Oluseyi Petinrin, Nigeria’s chief of defence staff said.
A worker at the military medical centre close to the incident said at least 11 people were dead and casualties were being taken to other hospitals in Abuja.
One witness said he was approaching the market to join New Year’s Eve celebrations when he heard the explosion.
“People ran in different directions. There were scores of bodies — dead and wounded. They used army trucks to pack them away,” Eric, a regular user of the market said.
The cause of the explosion was not yet known.
Violence has flared in Nigeria after bombings on Dec. 24 in the central city of Jos and ensuing violence between Christian and Muslim youths killed at least 80 people.
Boko Haram, a radical sect which wants Islamic law imposed throughout Nigeria, claimed responsibility for the Christmas Eve bombs and police say the group was behind a series of shootings and blasts in northern Nigeria in the last week.
Nigeria was shaken by car bomb attacks in Abuja in October, for which responsibility claimed by a rebel group in the oil-producing Niger Delta, where there has also been resurgence in violence this month. – Reuters