Abuja – Nigeria’s capital was on alert on Wednesday after an explosion went off outside a popular shopping centre, in the latest attack likely to be blamed on Boko Haram Islamists. The first explosion happened at about 21:00 at a shopping plaza in the city’s Wuse II district, spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Yushau A Shuaib, said in a statement.
Rescue workers then rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area, where an unexploded bomb was later discovered, an official said.
“When we were trying to find out what is happening, the anti-bomb squad discovered another one. They just detonated it,” the head of NEMA’s Abuja office, Ishaya Chonoko, told journalists at the scene. The good thing is that there was no report of human casualty,” he added.
The area was swarming with rescue workers overnight, as security forces kept journalists hundreds of metres away. When the cordon had been cleared early on Wednesday, an AFP reporter saw that the windows of shops adjacent to the Banex Plaza shopping mall had been shattered, but the main centre had not evidently been affected.
The plaza in a prominent commercial area of Nigeria’s capital is popular with both Nigerians and foreigners. A police statement called the blast “a low-level explosion” and said that “intensive” surveillance patrols were ongoing around the city that has been repeatedly attacked by Boko Haram.