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At least 13 killed in bombing of Nigeria World Cup viewing venue

Photo archive: Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in Nigeria's northeast are worst affected by the Boko Haram

By David Dolan

At least 13 people including young children were killed when a bomb tore through a venue in northeast Nigeria where fans had gathered to watch a World Cup football match, witnesses said.

Some people at the scene told Reuters an attacker dropped a device in front of the venue on Tuesday night in the town of Damaturu and ran off, while others said it was the work of a suicide bomber.

No one claimed responsibility for the blast, but Damaturu and the surrounding Yobe state are at the heart of a five-year-old insurgency by Islamist group Boko Haram.

The group was blamed for a an attack on another venue screening soccer matches in the northeastern state of Adamawa that killed at least 14 people and wounded 12.

A Reuters reporter at Damaturu’s General Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital counted 13 people dead – including small children – and at least 20 wounded.

The Nigerian government has advised people to avoid gathering in public to watch the World Cup, concerned about potential attacks.

Many fans in soccer-mad Africa rely on informal venues – often open-sided structures with televisions set up in shops and side streets – to watch live coverage of the sport.

Boko Haram – whose name roughly translates as “Western education is sinful” – has declared war on all signs of what it sees as corrupting Western influence.

The group has killed thousands in its push to carve out an Islamic state in religiously-mixed Nigeria.

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