Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The mammy market in Sani Abacha barracks in Nigeria's capital city of Abuja, scene of the New Year Eve's explosion that the police said left 4 dead and 13 injured, remained cordoned off by armed soldiers Saturday, as the nation struggles to come to terms with rising violence ahead of general elections this year.
Though the entrance to the barracks, located near the highbrow Asokoro in the nation's capital, is always manned by armed soldiers, the number of such soldiers at the gate has been increased, apparently in response to the explosion.
Vehicular and human traffic in and out of the barracks seemed unaffected on Saturday, but no one was allowed near the market, where an explosion tore through a row of markets stalls and fish-roasting platforms, sending revellers scampering for safety.
Some of the patrons who witnessed the explosion said they counted at least 11 bodies, some of them dismembered by the explosion.
But police Spokesman Olusola Amore said only four persons died in the latest explosion to rock Nigeria, which has witnessed similar attacks since 1 Oct. 2010, when the nation's 50th independence anniversary celebrations were ruined by a series of bombs that went off nearby, killing at least 10 and injuring 26.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) claimed responsibility for the independence anniversary attack, and the alleged perpetrators are now being prosecuted in court.
The northern city of Jos, which has witnessed incessant violence in recent times, was the scene of another explosions on Christmas Eve that left at least 80 dead. Reprisal attacks by angry youths left many houses in ruins and claimed more lives.
On the same day, three churches were attacked in the northern city of Maiduguri, leaving six dead, and a few days later, a device suspected to be a bomb exploded at a political rally in Southern Bayelsa state. No one was killed in that explosion.
Analysts have warned that unless the rising violence is curtailed urgently, it could affect the general elections due to be held in the next four months.
-0- PANA SEG 1Jan2011