A blast hit a local government headquarters in Zaria, northern Nigeria, on Tuesday, as primary school teachers and public sector staff were undergoing identity checks, two workers said.
“The explosive went off at about 9:00 am … The area has been taken over by security personnel but high casualties are likely,” local government worker Mahmud Abbas told AFP.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Zaria has been attacked before by Boko Haram Islamists, who have increased their attacks on civilians in the last month.
Abbas said local government workers and primary school teachers were undergoing screening to identify potential ghost workers on the state payroll.
Another staff member who was waiting outside, Mohammed Abubakar, said: “We were taking turns going into the hall in batches for the screening and also to get our pay checks.
“The first batch had gone in. There were almost 100 people there, including the staff, the screening committee and accountants from the banks.
“There was a huge explosion inside the hall followed by billows of smoke and dust. Now the area has been cordoned off by security men.
“I can’t give you an exact toll but I believe that dozens must have died given the number of people inside and the sound of the explosion.” Read more
Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai tweeted: I am sad that a terrorist bomb attack just killed 20 people in Sabon Gari Zaria, putting a number to the casualties.