Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
JOS, Nigeria (AP) — A bungled bombing killed two people, as well as the bomber, in Nigeria’s Jos city Saturday night, a police official said, four days after twin car bombs blamed on Islamic extremists killed at least 130 people in the central city.
Chris Olakpe — police commissioner for Plateau state, of which Jos is the capital — wouldn’t comment on reports that it was a suicide bombing, but according to Agence France-Press he said the bomber’s explosive device went off prematurely.
“He died in the wake of the heinous crime,” he told AFP. “He was consumed by his IED. It exploded before the viewing centre because of pressure from local youths and the alertness of the local people.”
The AP reported that a senior police official — who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not the official spokesman — said the bomber dropped a bag holding explosives at an outdoor theater crowded with people watching a European soccer cup final.
The venue is not far from the bustling marketplace that was targeted in Tuesday’s attack.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the latest attack.
But the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, which has been threatening to sell nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls into slavery, has been waging a two-pronged campaign of urban bombings and rural attacks on northeastern villages.
Separate car bombs in April killed about 100 people in Abuja, Nigeria’s central capital, and a car bomb that exploded prematurely Monday killed at least 24 people in northern Kano, the country’s second most populous city.
The attacks appear to be in defiance of an international campaign to rescue the girls and a commitment made at a summit of Nigeria, its neighbors and Western leaders in Paris a week ago to unite to wage total war on Boko Haram.
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan and his government are confronting national and international outrage at their failure to rescue the abducted girls.
Thousands have been killed in the 5-year-old Islamic uprising that aims to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state, though the country’s population is almost equally divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.
Jos sits on a fault line where the two regions meet, and the attacks are seen as an attempt to ignite religious rivalries that have erupted with deadly frequency, though the city had been peaceful until recently.
The majority Christian city has been tense since Tuesday’s attack, in which many who were killed were burned beyond recognition; families and friends still were looking for missing loved ones.
Police have refused to comment on residents’ reports that a man wearing a suicide bomber vest was arrested April 17 and warned that several Boko Haram insurgents had orders to plant bombs at churches and public places in Jos.