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Car bomb kills 19 in Nigerian capital

DEADLY BLAST: Bystanders gather around the scene of the explosion (PA)

A CAR bomb has killed 19 people and injured at least 60 in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

The blast hit the suburb of Nyanya, close to the site of a morning rush-hour bomb attack at a bus station on April 14 that killed at least 75 people.

No group has said it carried out Thursday's attack. The Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed it was behind the fatal explosion last month.

Most of Boko Haram's attacks have been in the northeast of Nigeria, but the bombing on April 14 raised fears that the militants could be trying to expand their area of operation.

The blast comes as the country is dealing with the abduction of 230 schoolgirls from a school in Chibok.

There has been an international outcry at the Nigerian government’s lack of action over the missing girls and president Goodluck Jonathan’s silence on the issue.

Campaigners wanting to find the girls, who were abducted from their school on April 14, have taken to twitter, with thousands tweeting under the hastags #bringbackourgirls and #whereareourdaughters, to pressure authorities to rescue the girls who, it is believed, were taken by Boko Haram militants.

The voices of online campaigners joined the outcry of human rights organisations and NGOs.

The anti-poverty charity, ActionAid Nigeria, which has been fighting for better education for girls, condemned the abduction.

Director, Dr Hussaini Abdu said: “The government must do everything in its power to find and rescue the girls and in addition must immediately implement special protection mechanisms to safeguard the lives and education of all children in Nigeria, particularly in the vulnerable north-east region.”

He added: “The northeast of Nigeria is already lagging behind the rest of the country in terms of education enrolment, retention and completion, particularly of girls. In this area parents are already reluctant to send their daughters to school because of cultural and religious reasons. For example many believe that girls should be married at a young age and therefore they drop out of school.

“The government must guarantee children’s right to education through adequate funding and provision of basic facilities such as toilets for girls and female teachers.”

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