18 killed in blasts near Nigerian capital, say emergency services
Two explosions that ripped through the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital Abuja have left at least 18 people dead and 41 wounded, the National Emergency Management Agency said on Saturday.
Both the Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari and U.S. embassy condemned the attacks.
“The death toll is now 18 because three people died in the hospitals this morning while 41 others were injured and are receiving treatment in the hospitals,” NEMA spokesman Sani Datti told AFP.
The agency had earlier given a death toll of 15 and 41 wounded following the blasts late on Friday near police station in Kuje and at a bus stop in Nyanya, in an area previously targeted by the Boko Haram Islamist group.
Datti told AFP a rescue operation ended Friday night.
“We have completed evacuation of the victims. What is left now is to allow the special anti-bomb unit of the police to do their job. They are combing the scenes for fragments of explosives for their investigation,” he said.
He said the entire area had been cordoned off.
The police said Saturday the bombings were the handiwork of suicide bombers.
“Preliminary investigations revealed the bomb blasts were carried out by two suicide bombers — a male and a female,” the police said in a statement.
It said the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, had ordered massive stop-and-search activities in the city and advised residents not to panic.
“Following the incidents the police high command ordered an immediate deployment of police explosives ordnance disposal units to the scenes to prevent further destructions,” it said.
It urged Nigerians to be vigilant and report any suspicious persons or objects to the security agencies.
Kuje, near Abuja’s airport, is some 40 kilometers (24 miles) from the city center and seat of government. Its prison has been reported to be holding dozens of Boko Haram prisoners captured by troops.
The same bus station in Nyanya was hit twice last year.
The first attack, on April 14 2014, left at least 75 dead and was claimed by the Islamists; the second, on May 1, left at least 16 dead.