Scores killed in Nigerian suicide car bomb, boat capsizal   2013-03-20 12:56:39            

KANO/CALABAR, Nigeria, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Nigeria was rocked on Tuesday by a suicide car bomb and a boat capsizal, with scores of victims killed.

A rescue official said late Tuesday that 41 people were killed, 65 others injured, and five luxury buses burnt to ashes so far, when two men rammed an explosive-laden blue VW Golf into a fully-loaded passenger bus in a mainly Christian neighborhood in Kano, northwest Nigeria's predominantly Muslim commercial center, on Monday evening.

Witnesses said they heard multiple blasts and saw the wounded in blood-stained clothes flee the area as the authorities cordoned off the scene.

State Commissioner of police Musa Daura told Xinhua that the wounded have been sent to hospital, and the two bombers were confirmed dead.

"The bombers hit an over-loaded luxury bus heading to Lagos," he said.

Riot police and armed soldiers have been sent to patrol on the streets and check points, in a bid to restore peace and order.

Such attacks are common in Kano, the most populous state in northern Nigeria, which is home to a large number of Christians.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks, the most deadly in nine months.

The car bombing was the latest high-casualty attack that escalated religious tensions in the West African nation of more than 160 million people evenly divided between Muslims and Christians.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the attack, saying the government would continue "its unrelenting war against terrorists."

But critics said the government has so far shown little ability to halt violence linked to Islamist extremist groups such as Boko Haram.

Meanwhile, a wooden boat carrying 166 people capsized Tuesday night off Calabar, capital of Cross River State in southeastern Nigeria.

Yushau Shuaib, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), confirmed the incident to Xinhua but said they could only confirm nine dead so far.

"The destination of the boat is yet to be ascertained...Rescue mission continues," he said in a short text message to Xinhua.

David Akate, head of the Cross Rivers State Emergency Management Agency, said he could not give the official death toll yet, adding that two known survivors, a young boy and a woman, had clung to a gas cylinder and were rescued by divers.

But a doctor from a hospital in Calabar said they had received 45 dead bodies of drowned passengers.

The accident happened when the boat carrying 166 people, mostly traders, from the remote town of Oron on Friday to Gabon in central Africa, capsized about 40 nautical miles off the coast, emergency services and businessmen said.

Michael Ekpenyong, a local fisherman, said more than 160 people may have died so far, and boat incidents often occur on nearby waters, where safety standards are poor.

Editor: Fu Peng
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