Traditional hunters on trail of abducted schoolgirls in Nigeria

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2014, 9:12pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 May, 2014, 1:20am


Two car bombs ripped through a crowded market in the central Nigerian city of Jos yesterday, the latest in a series of deadly blasts, as a state of emergency was extended in the northeast.

The blasts happened at the New Abuja Market, the spokesman for the Plateau state governor, Pam Ayuba, said. An unconfirmed report from one witness said at least seven people were killed.

"The first IED [improvised explosive device] was in a truck. The second was in a minibus," added Kingsley Egbo, of the military State Task Force in Plateau state.

Plateau, of which Jos is the capital, falls in Nigeria's so-called Middle Belt, where the mainly Christian south meets the Muslim-majority north.

The state has seen deadly sectarian clashes in the past but has also been hit by violence from Boko Haram extremists.

The bombings follow two separate attacks on the same bus station in a suburb of the capital, Abuja, on April 14 and May 1, that killed more than 90 people. The first was claimed by Boko Haram.

Four people were also killed on Sunday in a suicide car bomb attack in the northern city of Kano, which has been previously targeted by the group.

There was no immediate indication of responsibility for the latest strike.

The blasts in Jos happened after senators in the upper chamber of parliament gave their unanimous approval for a six-month extension to a state of emergency in three northeast states.

The lower House of Representatives overwhelmingly backed the plan in a vote last week.

President Goodluck Jonathan had requested a continuation of special powers in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa because of what he said was the "daunting" security situation and mounting civilian casualties.

The approval - the second since special powers were first introduced on May 14 last year - came as no surprise, with more than 2,000 people killed this year alone.

It also came as international teams help in the search for more than 200 schoolgirls abducted from the remote Borno town of Chibok on April 14 that has led to global outrage.

In approving their request, the senators said they "welcome and endorse the support of the international community" in the search, which includes the US, Britain, France and Israel.