Bombs kill 10 after Nigerian President sworn in
Abuja: Bomb blasts at a beer garden and eatery at a Nigerian military barracks killed at least 10 people hours after President Goodluck Jonathan was inaugurated, an emergency source said.
Three bomb blasts hit a "mammy market" -- commonly found at Nigerian military barracks and open to civilians -- in the northern city of Bauchi, located in one of the states hard hit by post-poll riots last month.
The attacks at the market were caused by "locally made devices", Bauchi state police commissioner Abdulkadir Indabawa said.
Authorities gave varying death tolls as is often the case in Nigeria, with officials frequently seeking to downplay the number of victims.
An emergency source who declined to be named said at least 10 people were killed, calling the incident "devastating," while Indabawa said four were dead and some 20 people wounded.
There was no indication of who was behind the blasts.
"There were lots of people since it's a Sunday evening," Indabawa said. "People were relaxing, eating and drinking. The market is inside the barracks."
The barracks commander told reporters that the three bombs went off at "exactly 8:00 pm when people were relaxing”. He said two people were killed and seven wounded.
"All victims were civilians," said Brigadier General Agbo Robinson. Civilians are allowed into such markets at military barracks.
Bauchi is located several hundred kilometres away from the capital Abuja, where Jonathan was sworn in.
In a separate incident in Zuba on the outskirts of Abuja, an explosion hit a beer parlour, causing minor injuries, according to a spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
"NEMA officials report that there was no serious casualty at the beer parlour where it occurred as the three victims took themselves to hospital," said Yushau Shuaib.
Jonathan was sworn in on Sunday following an election seen as the fairest in nearly two decades in Africa's most populous nation, pledging in his inaugural address to transform a divided country hit by deadly post-poll riots.
He took the oath amid extremely tight security, with some 10,000 security personnel deployed, mobile phone services cut and helicopters flying overhead.
The 53-year-old southern Christian comfortably beat his main opponent, ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari from the mainly Muslim north, in the April 16 vote, but three days of rioting followed which killed more than 800 people.
The rioting and massacres spread across the north, with victims hacked, burned or shot to death. Mobs torched churches and mosques, beat people after pulling them from cars and attacked shops.
Some two dozen African heads of state attended the inauguration at Abuja's Eagle Square. Twin car bombs occurred near the same venue during October's Independence Day celebrations, killing at least 12 people.
"Together we'll unite our nation and improve the living standard of all our peoples, whether in the north or in the south, in the east or in the west," Jonathan said in his inaugural address.
"We will not allow anyone to exploit differences in creed or tongue, and set us one against another," he added later, drawing applause from the crowd of several thousand.
Jonathan also spoke of improving Nigeria's woeful electricity supply and unleashing the economic potential of the continent's largest oil producer, but suspicion remains in the north, poorer and less educated than the south.
Many from the region accuse Jonathan's ruling People’s Democratic Party of vote rigging and reject observers' reports calling the election a step forward for Nigeria despite major flaws still to be addressed.
Jonathan also pledged in his address that he would make a priority of bringing peace to the troubled oil-producing Niger Delta, his home region.
The Niger Delta has seen relative peace after years of unrest thanks to a 2009 amnesty deal, but questions have been raised over how long it can last.
A deadly conflict between Christian and Muslim ethnic groups in the country's middle belt region also continues to simmer, while an Islamist sect has been blamed for dozens of killings in the northeast.