Nigerian police say the death toll from Friday’s car bombings in Abuja has risen to 12. Militants from the Niger Delta carried out the attacks on the day Nigeria was celebrating 50 years of independence.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta says it set off the bombs because Nigeria has nothing worth celebrating after 50 years of failure.
The attack by MEND is the group’s biggest outside it’s base in the oil rich Niger Delta.
A written statement from the office of Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan condemned the bombings, it decribed it as a low, dirty and wicked act of desperation by criminals and murderers. It said the president grieves with families who lost loved ones and wants those behind the attacks to know that they will be found and will pay dearly for this heinous crime.
The U.S. State Department has also condemned the bombings. In a written statement, the Obama administration said it is unfortunate that there are those who would resort to violence at a critical time when Nigeria is moving toward new elections next year.
Michael Ajayi, a Abuja resident said the explosions shook the city, speaking with VibeGhana.com correspondent, Ajayi said a lot of people can not sleep, “I wanted to stay up all night to celebrate, but I can’t anymore, I can’t..it’s scray” says Chineke.
Another Abuja resident Munir Ali said he is angry, he said the security officials have failed Nigerians. ” we can’t provide security for our own people to celebrate independence, The attack happened 10 minutes away from the main celebration ground, they have security there, why not everywhere in the capital, occasions like this needs security before celebration and not celebration and then security”.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (“MEND”) is one of the largest militant groups in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. MEND has been linked to attacks on petroleum operations in Nigeria as part of the Conflict in the Niger Delta, engaging in actions including sabotage, theft, property destruction, guerrilla warfare, and kidnapping.