Skip to main content

Blast kills 71 people at bus station in Nigeria

From Nana Karikari-apau and Vladimir Duthiers, CNN
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 2236 GMT (0636 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Scores killed, at least 124 injured in explosion, police say
  • Blast happened at about 6:45 a.m. at bus station on outskirts of Abuja as commuters were on way to work
  • Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan visited blast site
  • No one has claimed responsibility but attack bears hallmarks of Islamist militant group Boko Haram

(CNN) -- At least 71 people were killed when a parked vehicle exploded at a bus station in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Monday morning, Nigerian officials said.

Another 133 people were injured in the explosion on the outskirts of the city, national police spokesman Frank Mba said.

The attack happened at about 6.45 a.m., as the Nyanya Motor Park bus station was crowded with early morning commuters. One first responder at the scene told CNN "bodies were scattered everywhere."

"We're still treating people with injuries and collecting data," said Ishaya Isah Chonoko, zone coordinator at the National Emergency Management Agency in Abuja.

'Bodies scattered everywhere'
Vehicles are on fire after an explosion Monday, April 14, at a bus station on the outskirts of Abuja, Nigeria. At least 71 people were killed and 124 injured when a parked vehicle exploded at the Nyanya Motor Park bus station, Nigerian officials said. Vehicles are on fire after an explosion Monday, April 14, at a bus station on the outskirts of Abuja, Nigeria. At least 71 people were killed and 124 injured when a parked vehicle exploded at the Nyanya Motor Park bus station, Nigerian officials said.
Nigerian bus station explosion
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
Nigerian bus station explosion Nigerian bus station explosion
Boko Haram 'increasingly monstrous'

Information about what caused the blast wasn't immediately available. Charles Otegbade, the emergency management agency's search and rescue chief, said the explosion came from a vehicle that was parked at the station.

Interpol, which has offered its assistance to the team investigating the explosion, condemned what it called a "senseless and cowardly terrorist attack."

"This slaughter of innocent members of the public will have appalled citizens of all countries," the organization's Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said in a statement. "Interpol condemns this mass murder in the strongest possible terms and we express our solidarity with the people of Nigeria at this difficult time."

No individual or organization has so far come forward to claim responsibility for the blast, but it is believed to bear the hallmarks of Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group that has waged a campaign of violence in Nigeria in recent years.

Visiting the scene of the explosion, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan spoke of overcoming the militants.

"The issue of Boko Haram is quite an ugly history within this period of our own development ... but we will get over it," he said. "... The issue of Boko Haram is temporary."

Nigeria's Islamist insurgency has claimed more than 3,000 lives since it began in 2009, according to Human Rights Watch.

Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sacrilege" in West Africa's Hausa-Fulani language, is fighting for the imposition of stricter Sharia law across the country, and has launched a self-styled "war on Christians" in Nigeria.

The group is designated a "terrorist organization" by the U.S. State Department;

U.N. refugee agencies estimate that more than 8,000 Nigerians have fled into neighboring Cameroon to escape escalating violence sparked by the militants, while another 5,000 have become internally displaced.

Until now, Boko Haram's focus has mainly been concentrated on areas of Nigeria's northeast, where the group has launched bomb, gun and arson attacks on homes, schools, markets and even whole villages.

But it is not the first time Abuja has been targeted; in 2011 a Boko Haram suicide attack on the United Nations building in the city killed at least 25 people.

Security forces in the capital are now said to be on alert after Monday's blast in Abuja raised concerns the insurgency could be spreading further afield.

The World Economic Forum is due to meet in Abuja at the beginning of May.

READ: Opinion: Nigerians don't care about their 'new economy'
READ: Dozens killed in spate of Nigeria attacks
READ: Year of attacks linked to Nigeria's Boko Haram

Journalist Aminu Abubakar contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0242 GMT (1042 HKT)
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 2208 GMT (0608 HKT)
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2058 GMT (0458 HKT)
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1414 GMT (2214 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0333 GMT (1133 HKT)
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT