A bomb blast in Nigeria’s capital has killed 19 people and wounded 60 others, officials said Friday, adding that the explosion occurred near the location of another blast on April 14 that claimed 70 lives.
Authorities, who suspect the militant Islamist group Boko Haram in the Thursday night explosion, noted that the incident comes just days before the World Economic Forum meeting begins on Wednesday, the Associated Press said.
Shortly before the explosion, which took place in the Nyanya district of Abuja, witnesses said a car stopped across the street from a bus station and the driver jumped out and ran away. About six other cars parked nearby also caught fire and exploded. According to a security official, two unexploded improvised explosive devices were also found at the scene.
The latest bomb blast follows an April 14 explosion by Boko Haram, whose name means “western education is a sin.” Officials said the latest explosion bears similarities to previous blasts by Boko Haram, which has been ramping up its attacks. About two weeks ago Boko Haram kidnapped about 250 high school girls from the northeastern town of Chibok in the middle of the night. Nearly 50 girls escaped later, but the rest are still missing.
In the first four months of this year more than 1,500 people have died in the Islamic uprising, compared to approximately 3,600 fatalities from 2010 to 2013. Nearly 750,000 people have been forced to move, including farmers, which has resulted in a food shortage.
Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s president, declared a state of emergency in the country last year and sent troops to the northeastern part of the country to fight insurgents, who had taken control of several towns and villages there. In the process, several extremists were forced out and now occupy areas along Nigeria’s border with Cameroon and Chad.
"We shall triumph over all this evil that wants to debase our humanity or obstruct our progress as a nation," Jonathan said earlier Thursday, according to the AP, adding: "Those who want to redefine our country to be seen as a country of chaos will never succeed."