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Africa

Football stadium blast kills scores in northern Nigeria

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-06-03

A bomb blast targeting a football match in northeastern Nigeria killed at least 40 people on Sunday, police sources said. The attack took place in the town of Mubi, which has seen previous attacks by Boko Haram Islamists.

"There has been a bomb explosion at a football field this evening and so far more than 40 people have been killed," said the officer, who requested anonymity.

A military source said several bodies had been recovered, and the dead and wounded were still being evacuated from the area.

Nigeria's military on Monday said it had made an arrest in connection with the bombing.

Nine people were killed in an attack on Sunday when gunmen opened fire on a church service in a remote village in northeastern Nigeria.

A member of the congregation said people jumped through windows and fled into the bush to try to escape Sunday's attack in Attangara in the Gwoza hills - the main stronghold of Boko Haram militants waging an escalating campaign to carve out an Islamist state.

"As we were holding the service, we started hearing gunshots and everybody fled," Matha Yohana told Reuters.

"A key suspect in the terror bomb explosion that rocked Kabang community in Mubi, Adamawa state... has been arrested by troops who cordoned [off] the area in swift response to the explosion," defence spokesman Chris Olukolade told reporters.

Muhammad Hassan, a Mubi resident who was at the match, said the blast appeared to come from within the crowd of people who were walking across the pitch and heading home after the final whistle.

"Women and children were caught up in the blast," he told AFP.

Boko Haram suspected

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Islamist militant group Boko Haram, whose deadly struggle for an Islamic state is concentrated in the northeast, would likely be the prime suspect in the attack.

The town of Mubi in Adamawa state was the site of a 2012 Boko Haram attack on a student housing complex that left at least 40 people dead.

The group has also set off several bombs across north and central Nigeria in the past two months.

Last weekend a suicide bomber set out to strike an open-air viewing of a football match in the central city of Jos, but the car blew up before reaching the target, killing three people.

A suicide bombing the week before in Jos killed 118 people, and two bombs on the outskirts of Abuja in April killed 95 between them.

Boko Haram, whose name means ‘Western education is sinful’ in the Haussa language, stirred an international outcry with the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in northern Nigeria on April 14. The group subsequently threatened to sell the girls.

Fifty-seven of the girls have since escaped but 219 remain hostages.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-06-01

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