Friday, 1 October 2010

Nigeria's celebrations disrupted by bombs

According to the latest reports from our sources in Nigeria, at least eight people have been killed in an explosion in the country's capital Abuja. Nigerian police have confirmed that the explosion was caused by car bombs outside the Justice Ministry.

Earlier in the day, militant group Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) had issued a threat to target Nigeria's celebrations marking 50 years since independence from the UK.

In the message, Mend, who is demanding a fairer distribution of the country's oil revenues, said there was "nothing worth celebrating after 50 years of failure".

President Goodluck Jonathan, who was inspecting a guard of honour at the time, called the attack a "wicked act of desperation by criminals and murderers".

Most of Mend's leaders are observing a ceasefire and have already disassociated themselves from the attack, but a small faction within the group is discontented with the government's handling of an amnesty process in the Niger Delta. It is believed that this faction is behind the attack.

The two bombs went off about five minutes apart. Police said the bombs appeared timed to do most damage to those who responded to the first blast.

"There were more casualties at the second explosion because the first explosion drew crowds to the scene, which is close to the second explosion," said an unnamed intelligence officer.

President Jonathan is himself from the Niger Delta region and according to one senior rebel leader he is be the best person to solve the crisis in the Delta, as he understands its problems.

Source: BBC News

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

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