Powerful blast rocks Nigeria

2011-12-07 15:37

Kano - A powerful blast rocked the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna on Wednesday, killing at least seven people and wounding many others, an emergency official said, though the cause remained unclear.

"One of the dead victims from the Kaduna explosion is a 3-year-old child whose parent has taken the body for burial," said Yushau Shuaib, spokesperson for the national emergency management agency.

"So far seven bodies were taken to [the] mortuary while many injured victims are receiving attention in hospitals." It was unclear whether the seven bodies included the child.

Police initially said the explosion appeared accidental, but speculation over whether it was caused by a bomb intensified due to the blast's strength, with witnesses describing widespread damage, including a number of shops destroyed.

Shuaib had earlier said the scene was littered with mangled body parts that were being collected by rescue workers.

The explosion caused panic, with the city having been hit by previous bomb blasts as well as deadly rioting following April elections.

"It was a strong explosion," Shuaib said.

Police spokesperson Aminu Lawan had earlier in the day said initial information indicated that the blast was accidental.

"Initially, we thought it was a bomb blast, but our preliminary assessment has shown that it was an accidental explosion from a repair shop dealing in car batteries and gas cylinders," Lawan had said.