Explosion Hits Near Military Base In Nigeria

Published February 7, 2012 1:18PM (EST)

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — An explosion struck Tuesday near a military base in the central Nigerian city at the heart of riots last year that killed hundreds, officials said.

The explosion in the city of Kaduna caused an unknown number of injuries, said Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency. Shuaib said officials were trying to cordon off the area.

A local police spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

The blast comes as Nigeria faces increasingly bloody attacks from a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram.

Kaduna, on Nigeria's dividing line between its largely Christian south and Muslim north, was at the heart of postelection violence in April. Mobs armed with machetes and poison-tipped arrows took over streets of Kaduna and the state's rural countryside after election officials declared President Goodluck Jonathan the winner. Followers of his main opponent, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim, quickly alleged the vote had been rigged, though observers largely declared the vote fair.

Across the nation, at least 800 people died in the April rioting, Human Rights Watch said.

In Kaduna alone, more than 2,000 died as the government moved to enact Islamic Shariah law in 2000. In 2002, rioting over a newspaper article suggesting the prophet Muhammad would have married a Miss World pageant contestant killed dozens.

By Salon Staff

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