Explosions wound 4 near Independence ceremony in Nigeria

Last Updated: Friday, October 1, 2010 - 16:47

Abuja: Two car bombs detonated in Nigeria`s capital on Friday while a small explosion hit a venue where the President was celebrating the country`s 50th independence anniversary. At least four people were wounded in the explosions.

The violence came after the country`s main militant group promised to bomb the event, warning in a threat issued on Friday morning that there was "nothing worth celebrating after 50 years of failure”.

A reporter said he saw three people lying on the ground in front of the federal high court near Eagle Square, where the independence ceremony was under way.

The report said it appeared a red sedan and a green taxi detonated just as a parade at Eagle Square was set to begin.

Another report said a small explosive detonated inside Eagle Square before members of the military gathered there. A security agent was seen lying on the ground near that blast.

The 50th independence anniversary ceremony continued without interruption, though attendees clearly recognised something had gone wrong.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the main militant group in Nigeria`s oil-rich southern delta, issued a threat to journalists on Friday morning.

"For 50 years, the people of the Niger Delta have had their land and resources stolen from them," the statement read. "The Constitution before independence which offered resource control was mutilated by illegal military governments and this injustice is yet to be addressed."

Upset by the spills and the region`s unceasing poverty, militants in the delta have targeted pipelines, kidnapped petroleum company workers and fought government troops since 2006. That violence drastically subsided after a government-sponsored amnesty deal last year, which provided cash payoffs for fighters and the promise of job training. However, many ex-fighters now complain that the government has failed to fulfil its promises.

Nigeria, a member of OPEC, is one of the top crude oil suppliers to the US.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, October 1, 2010 - 16:47

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