AN explosion, on Tuesday evening, hit a viewing centre in Damaturu, Yobe State. As of the time of going to press, the casualty figure could not be ascertained.
The explosion was said to have occurred after the kick-off of the Brazil versus Mexico match in the ongoing World Cup.
Those injured, Nigerian Tribune learnt, have been taken to the Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital in Damaturu.
The CNN reported that Tuesday’s explosion at the soccer viewing centre claimed the lives of 21 people, a hospital source said on Wednesday.
Another 27 were injured in the blast during the showing of a World Cup match, said the source from Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital in Damaturu. He spoke on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
“All the victims are young men and boys. They sustained burns, ruptured tissues, shattered bones,” he said.
A police official placed the death toll lower Wednesday, saying 10 people had died. But the hospital spokesman said its count was based on the number of bodies delivered to the facility’s morgue.
The incident occurred on the outskirts of Damaturu, in Yobe state, the sources said. The explosives had been concealed in an abandoned motorised rickshaw outside the center. People were watching the Brazil-Mexico match.
“Our men have deployed to the scene but it’s too early for us to give details, said Yobe state police commissioner Sanusi Ruf’ai.
Volatile northeastern Nigeria is the home of the notorious Boko Haram group, the militant Islamists who abducted scores of schoolgirls in April.
Maina Ularamu, a local official in Madagali, in Adamawa state, told CNN last week that people in the town, which has been the target of previous Boko Haram attacks, had been warned against watching World Cup matches.
“Letters have been distributed to viewing centers in Adamawa state warning people not to gather to watch the World Cup games,” she said. “We suspect these letters to be from Boko Haram militants. People are very afraid and are not leaving their homes.”
To try to combat the growing threat from Boko Haram, the Nigerian government placed Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states under a state of emergency last year.