News / Africa

    At Least 71 Killed in Nigeria Explosion

    People gather at the site of a blast at the Nyanya Motor Park, about 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the center of Abuja, Nigeria, April 14, 2014.
    People gather at the site of a blast at the Nyanya Motor Park, about 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the center of Abuja, Nigeria, April 14, 2014.
    Heather Murdock
    President Goodluck Jonathan visited the bus terminal on the outskirts of the capital, Abuja, several hours after a bomb went off during Monday morning rush hour.

    The president urged Nigerians to be vigilant about suspicious movements, and suggested Islamist militant group Boko Haram was behind the blast, although there has been no claim of responsibility.

    "We console with our country men and women, we will continue to work very hard.  The issue of Boko Haram attacks is quite an ugly history within this period of our own development.  We will do everything to make sure that we move our country forward.  These are unnecessary distractions that are pushing us backward.''

    Police say at least 71 people died when the bomb went off at a bus station in the suburbs of the capital, Abuja, on Monday.  Some analysts say the latest attack is a sign that Islamist insurgents in Nigeria have expanded their reach.
     
    Shortly before 7:00 a.m. Monday morning, taxi driver Joseph Suleiman was driving into the city for work.  He was about a half a kilometer from Nyanya Motor Park when the bomb exploded.

    “We were inside the car. We heard the bomb blast and my car was shaking," he said. "Everybody, we were totally confused.”

     
    Major attacks blamed on Nigeria's Boko Haram
     
    2009
    • July - Attacks prompt government crackdown in Bauchi and Maiduguri; 800 people killed
     
    2010
    • December - Bombings in central Nigeria and church attacks in the northeast kill 86
     
    2011
    • June - Attack on a bar in Maiduguri kills 25
    • August - Suicide bomber kills 23 at U.N. building in Abuja
    • November - Bombings in Damaturu and Potiskum kill 65
    • December - Christmas Day bombings across Nigeria kill 39
     
    2012
    • January -- Gun and bomb attacks in Kano kill up to 200
    • February - Maiduguri market attack kills 30
    • June - Suicide car bombings at three churches kill 21
    • July - Attacks in Plateau state kill dozens, including two politicians at a funeral for the victims
     
    2013
    • February - French family kidnapped in Cameroon, held hostage for two months
    • April - Fighting with troops in Baga kills up to 200; residents say troops set deadly fires
    • May - Attacks in Bama kill more than 50
    • July - Gunmen kill 30 at a school in Yobe
    • August - Gunmen kill 44 at a mosque outside Maiduguri
    • September - Gunmen kill 40 students a dorm in Yobe
    • October - Attack Yobe state capital Damaturu, clash with military in Borno state
    They were confused, he explained, because there hasn’t been an attack in the Nigerian capital in two years, when Boko Haram blew up a prominent media house, killing several people.  In 2011, more than 60 people were killed in other attacks that targeted the local U.N. headquarters and a church.
     
    Suleiman said he saw scores of badly injured people as he passed the bus depot.
     

    “People told us that it was Boko Haram that put the bomb inside the Elruafai car that exploded that killed many lives.  But actually it is only God that knows the truth,” he said.
     
    According to some officials, despite nearly a year of emergency rule in three northeastern Nigerian states, the Boko Haram insurgency is growing.

    “We’ve allocated huge sums particularly for security in this country and I don’t see any improvement," noted Herman Hembe, a member of parliament. "It’s just been getting worse.”
     
    Boko Haram has been blamed for thousands of deaths since the insurgency began in 2009.  Amnesty International says 1,500 people have been killed in attacks this year alone, and about a half a million people have fled their homes.  
    • Bystanders react as victims of a bomb blast arrive at the Asokoro General Hospital in Abuja, April 14, 2014.
    • Bomb experts search for evidence in front of buses at a bomb blast scene in Abuja, April 14, 2014.
    • Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan visits the site of an explosion in Abuja, April 14, 2014.
    • A nurse helps an injured bomb victim sitting at the back of a pickup truck at the Asokoro General Hospital in Abuja, April 14, 2014.
    • People gather at the site of a blast at the Nyanya Motor Park in Abuja, April 14, 2014.
    • Victims of a blast lie on the ground as fire and smoke rise at a bus park in Abuja, April 14, 2014.
    • People gathered at the scene of an explosion at a bus park in Abuja, April. 14, 2014.
    • People assemble near where a bomb exploded in Nyanya, 16 kilometers from Abuja's city center, April 14, 2014. (Sulieman Hudu/VOA Hausa)
    • People assemble close to where a bomb had exploded in a motor vehicle pool in Nyanya, 16 kilometers from Abuja's city center, April 14, 2014. (Sulieman Hudu/VOA Hausa)

     
    Islamic law

    Boko Haram says it wants to enforce its harsh version of Islamic law and destroy the government but many analysts blame the unrest partially on extreme poverty, saying unemployment drives young men to fight for small sums of money.  
     
    However, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, says the insurgency is a result of religious extremism. 

    “It’s about ideology.  It’s not poverty.  It’s not marginalization," he insisted. "Yes it is true that if when you deal with poverty you may reduce the number of recruits -- people that they can recruit.”
     
    Attacking the ideology through education and the religious leadership in Nigeria’s mostly-Muslim northern states is the only way to end the insurgency, he said.
     
    The Nigerian military maintains that it has beaten back Boko Haram and re-claimed many areas formerly held by insurgents.  The military said a jailbreak last month where hundreds of fleeing detainees were killed was an attempt by Boko Haram to replenish its depleted ranks.
     
    Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the jailbreak and threatened more violence.  The group has not claimed responsibility for this latest attack, but typically Boko Haram communicates with the public through video messages, which can take days or weeks to release.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    
    by: Jane from: China
    April 14, 2014 10:57 AM
    Pray for them all.
    In Response

    by: Obono from: UK
    April 15, 2014 2:37 AM
    This is sad, painful and Gory. APC and PDP should not politicize at the detriment of the lives of Nigerians but rather both parties should come together as Unity to fight this crime of humanity.
    CCTV Cameras should be employed and mounted in Nigeria. It may cost huge money, but what is more important than the security of Nigerians. To fight faceless terrorist, you need to do things differently, no sentiments, fight it back.
    Some group thinks they want to embarrass the FG? No the FG is not Asorock; the FG is Nigerians and so these fight is for everyone of us united under the name Nigeria …This is the new strategy…we must all understand because anybody could be a victim.
         

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