Nigerian leader vows to rid country of `terrorists`

A bomb ripped through a crowded market in Abuja on New Year`s Eve, killing 4.

Abuja: President Goodluck Jonathan vowed on Saturday to rid Nigeria of "terrorists" after a bomb ripped through a crowded market in Abuja on New Year`s Eve, killing four people in the latest of a spate of attacks.

Speaking at a New Year church service, Jonathan said late Friday`s bombing in the capital Abuja bore the hallmarks of a series of attacks on Christmas Eve that left about 80 people dead, including after reprisals.

"They (attacks) will never stop Nigeria from where we are going to, we must work and reproduce a country ... where there will be no space for terrorists, a country where there will be no bombers and people with explosives to deter us," he said.

The four people killed in the blast near a military barracks in Abuja included a pregnant woman, Defence Minister Adetokunbo Kayode said. Twenty-six people were wounded, 11 seriously.

There has been no claim of responsibility.

All the dead and most of the wounded are civilians, the minister told reporters. A soldier was among those hurt, the President`s office said.

It was the second such attack in the capital since twin car bombings on Independence Day on October 01 killed 12 people.

The bombings were claimed by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) which says it is fighting for a fairer distribution of oil revenue in Nigeria`s oil-rich but impoverished Delta region.

Jonathan said such attacks were "road bumps" in the country`s development.

"For us to get where we want to go as a nation, we will have our obstacles," Jonathan told the church service.

US President Barack Obama extended his "deepest condolences to the families of those killed and wounded", saying the attack targeted "innocent civilians who were simply gathering -- like so many people around the world -- to celebrate the beginning of a New Year".

The bomb exploded around 7:00 pm at a popular eating and drinking spot on the fringes of the Mogadishu military barracks in a heavily fortified area of the city.

The site was cordoned off on Saturday and dozens of security officials, including soldiers, stood guard or patrolled the area.

Kayode, the defence minister, said it was not yet clear who may have been behind the bombing.

But Jonathan said preliminary analysis indicated the attack was "identical with the ones that happened in Jos" on Christmas Eve.

Chief of defence staff Air Marshal Oluseyi Petirin also said the blast appeared similar to the multiple attacks in the central city. "It`s the same type of incident we had in Jos," he said.

"It`s unfortunate that some people planted a bomb where people were relaxing," he added.

An Islamic sect calling itself Jama`atu Ahlus-sunnah Lidda`awati Wal Jihad has claimed responsibility for the Jos attacks.

Boko Haram, which launched an uprising in Nigeria last year, had previously said it wanted to be known as a group that goes by that name.

Police in northern Nigeria said on Thursday they had arrested 92 suspected Boko Haram members, including a man in his 70s they believe is the main financier of the group`s activities.

Bureau Report

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