UK & World News
Nigerian Capital Hit By Blast: Several Killed
At least 16 people have reportedly been killed after a suspected car bombing on the outskirts of the Nigerian capital Abuja.
The blast was near the site of an attack last month that killed at least 75 people.
In the latest explosion, witnesses said a car packed with explosives appeared to blow up near a checkpoint where security services had carried out searches.
The checkpoint had been set up following the earlier bombing.
Emergency services rushed to the scene after Thursday's blast which happened on May Day, a public holiday in the West African nation.
"There was a loud blast then a ball of fire," witness Lateef Adebayo told Reuters.
"There were many dead bodies and ambulances were rushing there."
The national emergency management agency (NEMA) said it had taken victims to hospital.
"At least nine lifeless bodies have been deposited in the mortuary while 11 unconscious victims are receiving medical attention in different hospitals in Abuja," NEMA spokesman Manzo Ezekiel.
An AFP reporter at the Asokoro General Hospital counted nine bodies which had been brought from the scene.
And a witness at the same hospital said he had seen at least seven other bodies arrive.
The Boko Haram Islamic extremist network claimed the bombing on April 14 which happened during rush hour at a busy bus station.
Hours later, the militants kidnapped more than 250 teenage girls at a school in the remote northeast which is their stronghold.
About 50 of the girls escaped their captors, but 200 remain missing in a growing embarrassment for Nigeria's government and military.
President Goodluck Jonathan told a May Day rally in Abuja earlier in the day that the perpetrators must be brought justice.
"We shall triumph over all this evil that wants to debase our humanity or obstruct our progress as a nation," he vowed.
"Those who want to re-define our country to be seen as a country of chaos will never succeed."
The US has said it has offered Nigeria help in its search for the missing girls.
State department spokeswoman Marie Harf said: "We have been engaged with the Nigerian government in discussions on what we might do to help support their efforts to find and free these young women.
"We will continue to have those discussions and help in any way we can."
Boko Haram wants to create an Islamic state in Africa's biggest oil producer, which has a population of about 170 million almost equally divided between Christians and Muslims.