Two bomb blasts that ripped through the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital Abuja have left at least 18 people dead and 41 wounded, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said.
The explosions happened near a police station in Kuje and at a bus stop in Nyanya at about 10:30pm (21:30 GMT), said NEMA spokesman Manzo Ezekiel.
“The death toll is now 18 because three people died in the hospitals this morning while 41 others were injured and are receiving treatment in the hospitals,” Sani Datti, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, told AFP news agency.
Kuje, near Abuja’s airport, is about 40km from the city centre and seat of government.
The same bus station in Nyanya was hit twice last year. The first attack, on April 14, 2014, left at least 75 dead and was claimed by Boko Haram, the second, on May 1, left at least 16 dead.
Ezekiel said the latest blasts happened almost simultaneously and appeared to use “the same kind of explosives used in the insurgency” in Nigeria’s northeast, the AFP reported.
“It was not an accidental explosion … definitely it was a bomb,” he added.
It is the first such incident in over a year in the capital city and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Bitrus Dabli, an Abuja resident who heard the Kuje blast, said: “Today there was a bomb blast that occurred in Kuje central market around 10:45.
“That was the actual time the bomb blast took place so I was at home by then, so when they called I came and saw the fire.
The place was still burning so everybody was afraid to go in there.”
Labaran Aman, a NEMA rescue official, said more than ten people were critically wounded, even though he could not confirm the number of dead persons.
“Honestly speaking, we heard of multiple explosions at Kuje and Nyanya and of course we have ambulances and rapid intervention vehicles prepositioned in directions in Abuja, and we dispatched all of them to scene to help evacuate the injured to the hospital.
“So right now the critical injured are moved to national hospital and from the Nyanya axis they are being moved to Asokoro general hospital.
“We cannot ascertain the actual number of dead at this moment, but we have more than ten critically injured.”
Nigeria’s military has claimed a series of successes against Boko Haram in recent weeks, as it works towards a deadline to end the insurgency by early November, set by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Boko Haram, which wants to implement Islamic law, was pushed out of most of the vast swaths of territory it controlled at the start of the year, but they have dispersed and returned to tactics of raiding towns and hitting soft targets with bombs
But indiscriminate attacks on civilians continue.
At least 10 people were killed and 39 others injured when four suicide bombers blew themselves up in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, in northeast Nigeria, on Thursday.
Boko Haram was also suspected of killing 11 people during attacks on three villages in the neighbouring state of Adamawa late on Wednesday and early Thursday.
Amnesty International this week said at least 1,600 people had been killed in Boko Haram violence in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger since June.
An AFP tally puts the death toll at more than 1,260 in Nigeria alone since Buhari came to power on May 29.