الإثنين , يونيو 8 2020

Blast at Nigeria World Cup venue

A burnt car is seen along a road in Buni Gari village in Nigeria's northeastern state of Yobe, 6 April 2014Yobe state has been under a state of emergency since May 2013

An explosion has hit northern Nigeria’s Yobe state at a venue televising a World Cup football match, residents and security officials say.

The blast hit Damaturu town at about 20:00 local time (19:00 GMT), reports said.

There were reports of casualties being brought into hospitals, but it is not clear if there were any deaths.

Yobe is one of three areas under a state of emergency amid attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants.

“There was an explosion outside a soccer viewing centre here in Damaturu at around 20:15,” Sanusi Ruf’ai, police commissioner for Yobe state, told AFP news agency.

“Our men have deployed to the scene but it’s too early for us to give details.”

Trucks carrying bodies have arrived at a local hospital, Reuters news agency reported, citing a source at the hospital.

‘Football un-Islamic’

Open-air viewing centres – where people pay to watch live football – are popular throughout Nigeria.

However, the Nigerian authorities have warned residents in some states to avoid public screenings of the World Cup, fearing militant attacks.

On Thursday, the north-eastern state of Adamawa ordered all venues planning to show live coverage of the football tournament to close, saying they had received intelligence of planned bomb attacks.

The states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have been under a state of emergency since May 2013. At least 2,000 people have died in the north-east since Boko Haram launched an insurgency in 2009.

Analysts say Islamist militant groups, including Boko Haram, have described football as un-Islamic.

Map of Nigeria

On 1 June at least 14 people were killed in a bomb attack on a bar in Adamawa that was screening a televised football match. No group claimed responsibility for the blast.

In March, many people were also killed in explosions while watching football in a video hall in Borno’s Maiduguri town. On both occasions, Boko Haram were blamed for the blasts.

Boko Haram – which means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language – wants to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.

The group captured international attention in April after it abducted more than 200 girls in Chibok in Borno state.

It is also suspected of killing at least 29 students in an attack on a boarding school in Yobe in February.

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