Voice of America (Washington, DC)

Nigeria: Govt Cautions Citizens to Be Alert After Abuja Blast

A spokesman for Nigeria's government has called on citizens to avoid the area near the upscale mall where a terrorist attack occurred in the capital, Abuja on Wednesday. At least 21 people were killed and at least 17 wounded in the blast.

Government spokesman Mike Omeri says a full scale investigation has begun. Authorities have arrested a number of people in connection with the blast.

"[An] investigation has already commenced. Officials have mobilized to the area and they are looking at various possibilities," he said.

Omeri says the government will continue warning Nigerians about the dangers posed from terrorists.

"We have issued the alert earlier on. It's an ongoing event. Even yesterday we have a security awareness programs with principals of schools, an initiative that was introduced by the government," said Omeri. "We have also been campaigning on the media for citizens to be more careful and they should be alert even before the World Cup, and the venues for viewing should be more secured."

Government critics say the administration is failing to protect Nigerians in the face of growing insecurity. Omeri says the government is making progress.

"We keep announcing most of the arrest[s] that happen. They caught the one in [the] Kano [blast] yesterday. The suspect who planted it was actually apprehended almost immediately because the citizens around there were vigilant," said Omeri.

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