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6 killed at Nigerian newspapers offices

A suicide bomber detonated a car loaded with explosives Thursday at the office of a major Nigerian newspaper in the country's capital and another man threw a bomb near another newspaper office in Kaduna, killing at least six people in the attacks, witnesses said.

The attack in Abuja struck the offices of ThisDay, an influential daily newspaper. The bombing in Kaduna struck a building housing offices for ThisDay, The Moment and The Daily Sun newspapers, witnesses said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, though they mirrored others previously carried out by a radical Islamist sect responsible for hundreds of deaths in Nigeria this year alone.

In Abuja, the suicide bomber rammed his car through the gates of the ThisDay office and drove into the reception area before the explosion, said Nwakpa O. Nwakpa, a spokesman for the Nigerian Red Cross. The blast killed at least three people and wounded others, Nwakpa said.

Soldiers and police officers quickly surrounded the building, which had part of its roof torn away and all its windows blown out by the force of the explosion. The blast focused on the end of the building with the newspaper's printing press, while the newsroom sat far away from the blast. However, the force of the explosion overturned tables and scattered debris through the journalists' workroom.

A large gate bearing the newspaper's logo sustained damage, with fire and smoke seen billowing in the distance underneath it after the blast.

Officers at the blast collected debris from the explosion for analysis, said Adenrele Shinaba, the capital's police commissioner.

The attack in Kaduna also included a car loaded with explosives, though people at the newspaper office quickly surrounded the car, witnesses said. The driver then began shouting that there was a bomb inside the car, witness Jemilu Abdullahi said.

Those there allowed the man to open the trunk of the car and he pulled out an object and threw it at the crowd, which exploded, Abdullahi said. Abdullahi said at least three people died in that blast.

It is unclear why bombers targeted ThisDay, a newspaper owned by the politically connected media mogul Nduka Obaigbena. In 2002, rioting over an article published by ThisDay suggesting the Prophet Muhammad would have married a Miss World pageant contestant killed dozens in Kaduna.

Gbayode Somuyiwa, an official with the newspaper, said he was not aware of any specific threats against the publication. However, he said the publication had increased its security amid the spate of bombings and violence now striking Nigeria.

The Canadian Press


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