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Nigerian Police Headquarters in Abuja Hit by Explosion

Nigerian Police Headquarters in Abuja Hit by Explosion
An employee of the National Emergency Management Agency stands at the scene of an explosion at Nigeria's police headquarters in Abuja. Source: NEMA via Bloomberg

A blast at Nigeria’s police headquarters in the capital, Abuja, killed at least five people and injured 11 others, said Yushua Shuaib, a spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency.

The explosion may have been caused by a suicide bomber, Shuaib said by phone today. A text message sent to Bloomberg’s reporter in Bauchi, northern Nigeria, claimed the attack in the name of the Boko Haram Islamic sect. The claim could not be immediately confirmed.

The blast occurred in the parking lot inside the compound of the police headquarters, said Yemi Ajayi, a spokesman for the police. Streets around the building are cordoned off and only emergency workers and security agents are allowed through.

“There were body parts all over the place,” Shuaib said. “We suspect it was a suicide bomber who was apparently targeting the inspector general.”

Authorities in Nigeria’s north have previously blamed Boko Haram, which draws inspiration from Afghanistan’s Taliban movement, for bomb attacks and killings targeting government officials and security forces. More than 14,000 people died in ethnic and religious clashes between 1999 and 2009 in Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer and most populous nation, according to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.

Boko Haram have set conditions for peace talks with President Goodluck Jonathan, including the introduction of Sharia law in the country’s northern states, Usman al-Zawahiri, a spokesman for the sect, said on June 13.

Militants from the oil-producing Niger Delta have also attacked government officials.

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