13 killed in blast at World Cup viewing centre in Nigeria

Abuja, June 18 (IANS) At least 13 people were killed and 21 others injured when an explosion rocked a viewing centre in Nigeria where a FIFA World Cup match was being televised, sources said Wednesday.

Sanusi Rufa'i, chief of police of the northern state of Yobe, confirmed the incident to Xinhua, saying the explosion occurred Tuesday night right outside a crowded viewing centre in Damaturu, the state capital.

Rufa'i said a detachment of police officers had been deployed to the scene of the incident and details of the explosion or number of casualties were yet to be made available.

A security official who took part in the rescuing of victims said 21 injured people had been received at Damaturu Specialists Hospital, while 13 bodies were deposited at the facility's morgue late Tuesday.

A health worker at the medical facility said the military-led Joint Task Force (JTF) shifted bodies of the victims to the hospital. The health worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he helped in receiving the bodies and deposited them in the hospital's mortuary.

No group has claimed responsibility for the bomb attack, but residents and witnesses blamed it on the Boko Haram, which has proved to be a major security threat in Nigeria since 2009.

On May 24, a massive explosion hit Nigeria's central Jos City, capital of Plateau State, as football enthusiasts gathered at a viewing centre to watch the final of 2014 UEFA Champions League between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Officials blamed the incident on Boko Haram and said 18 people died in that particular attack.

The Boko Haram seeks to enshrine the Islamic Sharia law in the constitution of Nigeria, Africa's most populous country. The group was responsible for the mid-April abduction of more than 200 school girls in the northeastern state of Borno.