At Least 71 Dead in Bomb Blast in Nigerian Capital

At a busy bus station in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, a bomb went off early this morning, tearing through rows of buses and killing over 71. The source of the blast was, as Nigerian officials have confirmed, the Boko Haram militant group, an extreme Islamist group aiming to unseat the Nigerian state.

As the New York Times reports,

Over the last two years, it has largely confined its attacks to remote areas of the country's northeast, killing scores of civilians in the region's towns and villages. On Sunday, more than 60 people were killed in an assault by the group near the border with Cameroon.

This strike is, however, being painted as a bigger attack, considering its proximity to state officials and government buildings.

The police said they suspected that the blast came from a bomb planted in a Volkswagen Golf that was driven into the station and then detonated. Afterward, witnesses spoke of bodies mangled beyond recognition, charred vehicles and strewn body parts collected by emergency workers.

The explosion came at a particularly busy time of day, when throngs of commuters were pouring into the bus station for work elsewhere in the city. Many believe that the government, despite claims, is not readily countering the Boko Haram attacks.

Nigerian commentators and civil society activists seized on Monday's blast as evidence that the country's security services were not in control of the uprising.

[Image via AP]