Nigerian President says bombings not tied to election

Bomb attacks in Nigeria on the night of Goodluck Jonathan`s inauguration killed at least 18 people.

Last Updated: Jun 09, 2011, 11:31 AM IST

New York: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said on Wednesday that deadly bomb attacks on the night of his inauguration were in no way linked to his election victory.

"We have these challenges but it has nothing to do with the election," Jonathan told reporters on the sideline of the global conference on AIDS, refuting claims that the bombings were to express disaffection at the polls.

Bomb attacks in different parts of Nigeria on the night of Jonathan`s inauguration, particularly on the outskirts of the capital Abuja and in the northern states of Borno and Bauchi, left at least 18 people dead, according to official figures. Unofficial tolls said there were more.

Jonathan, a Christian from the oil rich south, defeated his main challengers, mainly Muslims from the north, in a contest adjudged as free and fair by local and foreign observers.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the attacks. Jonathan said they were the work of terrorists and not the result of ethnic or religious divides in the country which have been a source of friction.

"Initially we as a nation, we didn`t believe that we have terrorists among ourselves until it became so obvious that we have some elements of terrorism," Jonathan said.

"This issue of explosion has been with us and we are doing all we could to contain it. As a government, we are committed to bringing it down and we will bring it down," Jonathan said.

Bureau Report