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Nigeria Shopping Center Blast Kills 19


Firefighters douse cars after a bomb blast at a crowded shopping district in Abuja, Nigeria, June 25, 2014.

Firefighters douse cars after a bomb blast at a crowded shopping district in Abuja, Nigeria, June 25, 2014.

A bombing at a Nigerian shopping center killed at least 19 people and wounded 52 Wednesday. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Islamic extremists are suspected.

Initial reports said 21 people were killed by the blast at Emab Plaza in Abuja -- which came as shoppers were getting ready to watch Nigeria's World Cup match with Argentina.

Police say burned out cars, body parts, and pools of blood are scattered everywhere. One person has been arrested. Some witnesses said a person riding a motorcycle threw the bomb.

Suspicion has fallen on Boko Haram -- the Islamic extremist group responsible for thousands of deaths in a terror campaign to turn northern Nigeria into an Islamic state.

VOA correspondent Heather Murdock went to the shopping center and said the scene was chaotic.

"What is clear is there was a huge blast. It blew out 17 cars. Several buildings have lost windows and have been damaged," said Murdock. "Around the whole area, there is glass everywhere. We talked to a local girl who sells local nuts on the streets. She told me that all she saw was just a huge blast and two of her sisters were killed instantly."

An eyewitness who gave no name said his property at the site was extensively damaged.

Abuja has been hit by a series of deadly bombings in recent months.

In April, more than 70 people were killed by a bomb blast at a bus terminal on the outskirts of Abuja.

The Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for that attack. The group has killed thousands of people during its five-year insurgency to establish a hardline Muslim state in northern Nigeria.

In May, a car bombing at a bus station in the capital left 18 people dead.

Some information for this report comes from AFP and Reuters.

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