Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - One person died and three others were badly injured when a passenger minibus in which they were riding exploded in Nigeria's oil city of Port Harcourt Thursday, the police said.
The bus, which was loaded with arms, munitions and dynamites exploded around the Rumuokoro area of the city, wrecking the bus and leaving the occupants, suspect to be armed robbers heading to an operation, badly burnt.
It was not clear why the bus exploded or where the robbers were heading to.
Rivers Police Commissioner Mohammed Indabawa told journalists at the scene of explosion that the dead person was suspected to be the driver of the bus, while the three injured were the other occupants.
He said the police recovered four assault rifles hidden in a bag inside the bus, and that the bomb disposal unit of the command was still combing the area.
''I can confirm to you that this is not a terrorist attack or bomb explosion. We suspect that the occupants of the bus were armed robbers going for an operation,'' said Indabawa, allaying fears that the Islamic sect Boko Haram was behind the explosion.
Any explosion in Nigeria is now automatically linked to Boko Haram, which has killed over 1,200 people in gun and bomb attacks in the predominantly-Muslim northern Nigeria since 2009.
Militant attacks in Nigeria's oil region, of which Port Harcourt is one of the major cities, have reduced drastically since
a successful government amnesty saw hundreds of fighters renounce violence.
-0- PANA SEG 17May2012