More than 100 killed in Nigerian blasts

2014-05-21 08:35

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Two car bombs exploded at a bustling bus terminal and market in Nigeria’s central city of Jos yesterday, killing at least 118 people, wounding dozens and leaving bloodied bodies amid the flaming debris.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the twin car bombs, but they bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram.

In its campaign to impose Islamic law on Nigeria, the extremist group has repeatedly targeted bus stations and other locations where large numbers of people gather.

It was also responsible for abducting nearly 300 schoolgirls last month.

The second blast came half an hour after the first, killing some of the rescue workers who had rushed to the scene, which was obscured by billows of black smoke.

“It’s horrifying, terrible,” said Mark Lipdo of the Stefanos Foundation, a Christian charity based in Jos, who described the sickening smell of burning human flesh.

A woman’s body, her legs blown off, lay on the edge of an inferno that was consuming other bodies. In the middle of the flames, an arm reached up. Another woman, unconscious and wrapped in a brightly coloured cloth, was being carried away in a wheelbarrow on a road strewn with glass shards.

Dozens of bodies and body parts were covered in grain that had been loaded in the second car bomb, witnesses said. A Terminus Market official said he helped remove 50 casualties, most of them dead.

At least 118 people were killed and dozens wounded in the bombings, which ignited fires that were still burning eight hours later, according to Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency.

“Firemen are still trying to put them out. We believe we will find more bodies,” said Mohammed Abdulsalam, zonal coordinator for the agency. He said the fires were being fuelled by flammable goods at the market, including rubber sandals.

Tensions have been rising between Christians and Muslims in Jos, the capital of Plateau state in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region that divides the country into the predominantly Muslim north and Christian south. It is a flashpoint for religious violence and there were fears that the attacks could ignite a new round of sectarian violence.

President Goodluck Jonathan hinted that Boko Haram was to blame for yesterday’s bombings. He extended sympathies to affected families and assured “all Nigerians that the government remains fully committed to winning the war against terror”.

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