Casualties feared as huge explosion rocks Nigeria's capital Abuja   2014-05-02 05:16:12            

ABUJA, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Casualties were unknown after a huge explosion rocked the outskirts of Nigeria's capital city Abuja, a spokesman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said Thursday night.

"I am around the area and I heard the blast. It was a huge explosion but I cannot confirm the effect or casualties right now, " said Ezekiel Manzo, spokesman of NEMA, while confirming the incident to Xinhua.

In a short electronic message sent out to citizens, the emergency agency confirmed the explosion occurred near the scene of the last suicide bomb attack in Nyanya, where more than 71 people were reported killed and 124 others sustained injuries.

While saying the severity and degree of the explosion was yet to be confirmed, NEMA said its rescue team and local police had cordoned off the area. "Paramedics and ambulances had moved to the scene," added the government rescue agency.

A local rescue official in the area told Xinhua that evacuation of victims had immediately commenced, although the source declined to mention the number of casualties of the incident.

Right after the news spread out, Nigeria's netizens questioned the west African country's readiness, in terms of security, to host the World Economic Forum on Africa next Wednesday in Abuja.

At a briefing ahead of the event last Monday, local military authorities and police assured the rest of the world that the international conference would be hitch-free and that maximum security would be provided.

It was not clear if the explosion was a perpetration of Boko Haram, a sect which had been proved to be a major security threat in Nigeria since 2009, although it had claimed responsibility for the previous attack in Nyanya on April 14.

Boko Haram seeks to enshrine the Islamic Sharia law in Nigeria's Constitution, as well as to abolish western education in the Africa's most populous country.

Editor: yan
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