Nigeria police backtrack on suicide blast claim

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was targeted at the police chief.

Abuja: Nigerian police backtracked on Wednesday on a statement that an attack on the police headquarters last week was a suicide bombing, saying investigations were continuing and they were still not sure.

Police said soon after the June 16 bombing that killed two people at the national headquarters in Abuja that it was a suicide attack believed to have been carried out by the radical Islamist sect, Boko Haram.

The dead were a police traffic warden and the presumed suicide bomber, police said in a statement. It would have been the first suicide attack in Nigeria. Local media reported a higher death toll.

However, national police chief Hafiz Ringim said in a statement to the media on Wednesday: "Investigation has not been concluded to confirm the motive as to whether it is a suicide bomb or time bomb or otherwise."

"This is to correct the impression and analysis of the unfortunate incident."

The statement came a day after the police commander met President Goodluck Jonathan and after an emergency meeting of nation`s security chiefs.

The bomb tore through a car park, throwing people to the ground and destroying nearly three dozen vehicles, witnesses and officials said.

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was targeted at the police chief.

The group, sometimes called the Nigerian Taliban, had warned a day before the blast that it planned "fiercer" attacks, saying it was angered by Ringim`s declaration that its days were "numbered”.

Speaking earlier Wednesday during a meeting with police chiefs across the country, Ringim said that following last week`s attack there was "an urgent need" to review Nigeria`s security situation.

"Taking cognisance of the incident, there is certainly an urgent need to review the security situation in the country as well as plot how the police and other law enforcement agencies will tackle it," he said.

"The last blast was certainly a big wake-up call and we need to rise to the challenge," he added.

Bureau Report

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