JOS, Nigeria — An explosion ripped through an outdoor venue crowded with soccer fans watching a European final Saturday night and many are feared dead in the Nigerian city of Jos, officials said, four days after twin car bombs blamed on Islamic extremists killed at least 130 people in the central city.
Police Superintendent Felicia Anslem confirmed the blast Saturday night which went off not far from the bustling marketplace that was targeted in Tuesday’s bomb attack. A National Emergency Management Agency official, Eugene Nyelong, said it appeared to be another car bomb and many are feared dead because the outdoor theater was packed to capacity.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack.
The Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, which has been threatening to sell nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls into slavery recently, has been waging a two-pronged campaign of urban bombings and rural attacks on northeastern villages.
Separate attacks in April killed about 100 people in Abuja, Nigeria’s central capital, and a car bomb that exploded prematurely killed at least 24 people in Kano, the country’s second most populous city on Monday.
The daily attacks appear to be in defiance of an international campaign to rescue the girls and a commitment made at a summit of Nigeria, its neighbors and Western leaders in Paris a week ago to unite to wage total war on the Boko Haram movement.
Thousands have been killed in the 5-year-old Islamic uprising to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state though the country’s population is almost equally divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.
Jos sits on a fault line in central Nigeria where the two meet and the attacks are seen as an attempt to ignite religious rivalries that have erupted with deadly frequency though the city has been peaceful until recently.
The majority Christian city has been tense since Tuesday’s attack but it did not provoke any collateral conflict.
Many of those killed on Tuesday were burned beyond recognition and families and friends still were looking for missing loved ones.
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan and his government are confronting national and international outrage at their failure to rescue the abducted girls.