At least 21 people have been killed and 17 injured following an explosion near a popular shopping area in the Nigerian capital Abuja during rush hour today.
The cause of the blast is not known, but witnesses say it shattered the glass of nearby stores and sent smoke billowing into the air.
The explosion took place near the popular Banex Plaza shopping centre in the upmarket Wuse 2 district at a time when the area was packed with shoppers and rush-hour commuters.
“After a preliminary investigation, we can confirm that 21 people were killed and 17 injured,” police spokesman Frank Mba told reporters at the scene of the explosion.
“I heard a loud blast, it shattered the windows of the shop. We ran out. A lot of people ran too, some with blood stains,” said Gimbya Jafaru, who was shopping nearby.
Emergency services arrived on the scene quickly and the police and army had blocked off the surrounding area. The bomb squad combed the area for explosives.
In another incident, a roadside bomb blew up in the northeastern Adamawa state, although no one was injured in that explosion, local police spokesman Othman Abubakar said
Nigeria has been hit by almost daily bomb and gun attacks, which are widely suspected to be the work of Islamist militant group Boko Haram.