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Deadly twin blasts in the Nigerian city of Jos kill 118

The blasts occurred 15 minutes apart in the afternoon, burning several shops to the ground, shattering windows and spreading rubble in the road.

Nigeria jos bombing kills 118Enlarge
Footage from the bombing in the Nigerian city of Jos on May 20, 2014. (Screengrab/YouTube)

At least 118 people were killed in two blasts on Tuesday in Jos, Nigeria, the National Emergency Management Agency said, raising the death toll from 46 reported earlier.

"We've now recovered 118 bodies from the rubble," said Mohammed Abdulsalam, coordinator of the agency in Jos. "This could rise by morning, as there is still some rubble we haven't yet shifted."

The twin explosions hit the main business district of the central Nigerian city, which houses shops, some offices and a market.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blasts, although Islamist sect Boko Haram, which has set off bombs across the country as it becomes increasingly bloodthirsty, is likely to be a prime suspect.

The Islamists grabbed world headlines with the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls a month ago from a remote village in the northeast. Britain, the United States and France have pledged to help rescue them.

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Jos has been relatively free of attacks by the group, but it claimed responsibility for a bomb in a church in the highland city, as well as two other places, on Christmas Day 2011.

The city is in the heart of Nigeria's volatile "Middle Belt," where its largely Christian south and mostly Muslim north meet, and surrounding Plateau state is often a flashpoint for violence, although the Christmas bomb failed to trigger any.

The latest blasts occurred 15 minutes apart in the afternoon, burning several shops to the ground, shattering windows and spreading rubble in the road. Police sirens wailed as officers rushed to the scene.

A Nigerian news channel captured the moment of the second blast:

"There was a loud bang that shook my whole house. Then smoke was rising," said Jos resident Veronica Samson. "There were bodies in the streets and people rushing injured to hospital in their cars."

Boko Haram has stepped up its use of explosives in attacks that are spreading far beyond its core area of operation, including two in the capital Abuja last month. A suicide car bomber killed five people on a street of bars and restaurants in the northern Nigerian city of Kano on Sunday evening, in an area mostly inhabited by southern Christians.

(Reporting by Adamu Jonah and Buhari Bello and Tim Cocks; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Alison Williams)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/nigeria/140520/deadly-twin-blasts-the-nigerian-city-jos-kill-118