[Photo: Crowds gather at the scene of an explosion at Terminus Market in Jos. Stallkeepers salvage their belongings]
ABUJA, (Xinhua): Death toll of the twin blast on a busy market road in Nigeria’s central city of Jos on Tuesday rose to 118, after casualty figures were further collated from various health facilities, an official told reporters here.
Mohammed Abdulsalam, coordinator of the National Emergency Management Emergency (NEMA) in Nigeria’s north central region, said more lifeless bodies may be trapped in debris of buildings which collapsed following the loud blasts.
He said at least 56 people sustained various degrees of injuries after suspected suicide bombers detonated some improvised explosive devices at the central business area in the city of Jos, capital of Nigeria’s central Plateau State.
Earlier, police authorities in the West African country had said at least 46 people were killed and 45 others sustained injuries when the two explosions rocked the Nigerian city.
Plateau State police chief Chris Olakpe considered the incidents as suicide bomb attacks, while speaking to reporters. According to him, the first bomber came in a Fiat bus and parked at the market’s central business area.
“The second blast, which was concealed in a Toyota Sienna bus, happened 100 meters away from the first one,” said the police chief, at a press conference. He said the figures given earlier were collated after visits to the state-run Plateau Specialist Hospital and Bingham Hospital in Jos.
“As I said earlier, there could be more casualties because we have not gone to the new and old Jos University Teaching Hospitals (JUTH),” he added.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the bomb blasts in a statement made available to Xinhua. He described the perpetrators of the tragic assault on human freedom as “cruel and evil.”
The Nigerian leader directed all relevant agencies to mobilize support and relief efforts in aid of the victims, while assuring all citizens that the government would remain fully committed to winning the war against terror. “This administration will not be cowed by the atrocities of enemies of human progress and civilization,” he added.
Tuesday’s bombings occurred barely 48 hours after an explosion hit a Christian-dominated area in Nigeria’s northern city of Kano on Sunday night, killing five people, according to state officials.
Plateau State is situated in Nigeria’s middle belt, where the Muslim-dominated north and the Christian-majority south meet. The state capital Jos was plunged in a pool of blood on March 7, 2010, when religious crises ensued between members of local Muslim and Christian communities in revenge for previous killings.
The state has witnessed some bomb blasts and constant rifts between Berom and Fulani herdsmen, with many, especially women and children, murdered in cold blood.
Nigeria is currently grappling with security challenges, one of which is the insurgency of Boko Haram, which seeks to enshrine the Islamic Sharia law in the constitution.