Head of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Abbas Idriss has disclosed that the death toll in Thursday night’s car bomb attack in Nyanya was 19 with more than 60 others injured.

The explosion happened close to the motor park where at least 70 people died in a bomb blast on April 14.

Initial reports immediately after the blast had indicated that only nine people had been killed.

However, speaking with the BBC, Idriss confirmed the latest casualty figures, however, suggesting the figure may rise as some of the injured are said to be in critical condition.

But police spokesman, Frank Mba gave a ‘provisional’ figure of nine killed and 19 injured, when he addressed the media at the scene of the explosion.

Witnesses said the explosion targeted a police checkpoint near a bus station.

No group has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack. The Islamist militant group Boko Haram said it was behind the fatal explosion last month.

The BBC’s Will Ross in Abuja says Nyanya is a religiously mixed area and it is not clear why the area has been targeted.

Charles Osueke, who was in the area at the time of the blast, told the BBC that it was just 200m (650ft) away from the 14 April explosion.

“People in the crowd were saying that a man parked his car, walked away and the next thing they know, the car blew up,” he said.

“I’m worried about our security here. After the last explosion the president said he would increase security,” Osueke added.

“There were policemen around when this explosion happened and they didn’t manage to stop it.”

Most of Boko Haram’s attacks have been in the north-east of the country.

But the bombing on April 14 raised fears that the militants could be trying to expand their area of operation.

In a video message after that attack, the group’s leader Abubakar Shekau said: “We are in your city but you don’t know where we are.”

The latest attack comes just days before Abuja is set to host the World Economic Forum on Africa after becoming the continent’s biggest economy last month.

Insecurity will be a major concern with several world leaders, including Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, due to attend the event.

Correspondents say the blast comes at a terrible time for Nigeria, which is also dealing with the abduction of 230 schoolgirls that happened hours after the previous Nyanya attack.

Boko Haram’s fighters have killed more than 1,500 civilians in three states in north-east Nigeria this year.

The group has hit Abuja several times before, including an attack on the United Nations building in 2011.

But before April 14, there had not been an attack in the capital for two years.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden” in the local Hausa language, has been waging a campaign of gun and bomb attacks since 2009.


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