Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Explosion rocks shopping mall in Nigerian capital, Abuja; police say 21 dead, 17 wounded

A Nigerian soldier, center, walks, at the scene of an explosion in Abuja, Nigeria, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. An explosion rocked a shopping mall in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, on Wednesday and police say at least over 20 people have been killed and many wounded. Witnesses say body parts were scattered around the exit to Emab Plaza, in the upscale Wuse 11 suburb. (AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga)

Enlarge Image

A Nigerian soldier, center, walks, at the scene of an explosion in Abuja, Nigeria, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. An explosion rocked a shopping mall in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, on Wednesday and police say at least over 20 people have been killed and many wounded. Witnesses say body parts were scattered around the exit to Emab Plaza, in the upscale Wuse 11 suburb. (AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga)

ABUJA, Nigeria - An explosion blamed on Islamic extremists rocked a shopping mall in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, and police said 21 people were killed.

The blast came as Nigerians were preparing to watch their country's Super Eagles play Argentina at the World Cup in Brazil. Many shops at the mall have TV screens but it was unclear if the explosion was timed to coincide with the match, which started an hour later.

Witnesses said body parts were scattered around the exit to Emab Plaza, in Abuja's upscale Wuse 2 suburb. One witness said he thought the bomb was dropped at the entrance to the mall by a motorcyclist. All spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Soldiers shot and killed one suspect as he tried to escape on a power bike and police detained a second suspect, Mike Omeri, the government spokesman for the insurgency, said in a statement.

Billows of black smoke could be seen from a mile (kilometre) away, and police said 17 vehicles were burnt out in the blast.

"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 a few minutes earlier was dead. "I asked the driver to come with me, and he said 'No,' he would wait for me in the car."

Police Superintendent Frank Mba said 17 people were wounded and 21 bodies were recovered.

Omeri urged people to be calm and said the government was doing everything possible "to check the activities of insurgents."

It is the latest in a series of violent attacks blamed on Islamic extremists. Nigerian security forces appear incapable of curtailing the near-daily attacks concentrated in the northeast, where Boko Haram extremists have their stronghold.

On Tuesday night, extremists in the northeast attacked a military checkpoint and killed at least 21 soldiers and five civilians, witnesses and a hospital worker said Wednesday.

A soldier who escaped said the militants also abducted several of his colleagues in the attack near Damboa village, 85 kilometres (53 miles) from Maiduguri, capital of Borno state.

The extremists attacked in a convoy of more than 30 trucks armed with anti-aircraft guns and rocket launchers and powerful submachine guns while the soldiers had only AK-47 assault rifles, said the soldier, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to reporters.

He said he saw at least 16 of his colleagues gunned down before he ran away. A worker at Maiduguri's main hospital said he counted the corpses of 21 soldiers brought to the morgue.

A federal intelligence officer also confirmed the attack, saying the soldiers were overrun. He also is not allowed to speak to reporters.

A spokesman for vigilante groups fighting Boko Haram, Muhammed Gava, said the extremists also killed five elderly men in the village that has been deserted by most inhabitants.

Abuja is in the centre of Nigeria and the militants have spread their attacks to the capital. Two separate explosions in Abuja in April killed more than 120 people and wounded about 200 at a busy bus station. Both were claimed by Boko Haram, which has threatened further attacks.

A bomb at a medical college in northern Kano killed at least eight people on Monday. Last week, at least 14 died in a bomb blast at a World Cup viewing site in Damaturu, a state capital in the northeast. In May, twin car bombs in the central city of Jos left more than 130 people dead; and a car bomb at a bus station killed 24 people in the Christian quarter of Kano, a Muslim city.

Boko Haram attracted international condemnation for the April mass abductions of more than 200 schoolgirls, and is blamed for this week's abductions of another 91 people — 31 boys and 60 girls and women with toddlers as young as 3.

Nigeria's military and government claim to be winning the war in the 5-year-old insurgency but the tempo and deadliness of attacks has increased this year, killing more than 2,000 people so far compared to an estimated 3,600 killed over the past four years.

Omeri, the government spokesman, said security agencies are "handling the situation" at Wednesday's bombing.

He said 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."

Boko Haram wants to install an Islamic state in Nigeria, a West African nation whose 170 million people are almost equally divided between Muslims who are dominant in the north and Christians in the south.

___

Umar reported from Maiduguri, Nigeria.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media