Twin car bombs that were detonated in a crowded Nigerian city earlier today have killed at least 118 people, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP). And "more bodies may be in the debris" of collapsed buildings, a representative from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) told AFP.
Earlier, news outlets reported that the death toll was at 46, with several others injured. The two explosives concealed in a truck and minibus went off in the central city of Jos, one by a busy market and one near a hospital. Plateau state Police Commissioner Chris Olakpe told Reuters that "the first explosive went off around 3 p.m. The second was about 3:30 while people gathered to help the victims," adding "this is a very busy area of Jos metropolis."
Two loud explosions heard near crowded market in central Nigerian city of Jos - cause unclear, many casualties feared http://t.co/A0IliAwFYT— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) May 20, 2014
The Guardian describes the scene:
"It happened very close to the market so most of the victims were people plying their trade. Some had children with them," he said by phone from the scene, above the wail of sirens. Witnesses said soldiers had erected checkpoints around the area, and firefighters were still battling to put out flames that continued to rage almost two hours after the blasts. Bala Mohammed, a resident who was returning home from his office nearby, said the force of the first explosion threw him to the ground. "People started running to help the wounded, and ten minutes later the second one went off. It took off the roof of the market building. Many were trapped inside, it was a terrible scene."
According to AFP, Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck has issued a statement in response to the attack, calling it a "tragic assault on human freedom" and its perpetrators "cruel and evil." His office said that "President Jonathan assures all Nigerians that [the] government remains fully committed to winning the war against terror and... will not be cowed by the atrocities of enemies of human progress and civilization."
No group has yet taken responsibility for the attack, but most suspect Boko Haram -- the Islamist militant group that rocked the country with the capture of nearly 300 school girls. Boko Haram has carried out similar attacks in the past, though Jos has been, until now, relatively untouched.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.