Police: Death toll in Nigeria blast at 10

May 30, 2011 - 2:58 AM
Nigeria

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, left, takes the oath of office before Justice Sunday Olorundanusi, center, and Chief Justice of Nigeria Katsina Alu during his inauguration ceremony at the main parade ground in Nigeria's capital of Abuja Sunday, May 29, 2011. Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in Sunday for a full four-year term as president of Nigeria and is now faced with the challenge of uniting a country that saw deadly postelection violence despite what observers called the fairest vote in over a decade. (AP Photo/Felix Onigbinde)

BAUCHI, Nigeria (AP) — The death toll from multiple blasts in Nigeria's restive north that came hours after a southern president was inaugurated is now at 10, a police official said Monday.

Three blast hit a bar in a military barracks in the town of Bauchi at about 8 p.m. Sunday evening, killing 10 and leaving nine more people injured, Bauchi state police chief Mohammed Indabawa told The Associated Press.

All roads leading to the Shadawanka Barracks in Bauchi were cordoned off by security personnel after the blasts.

The blast illustrates the challenged facing new president Goodluck Jonathan. The southerner was sworn in Sunday for a full four-year term as president of Nigeria and is now faced with the challenge of uniting a country that saw deadly postelection violence despite what observers called the fairest vote in more than a decade.

The nation of 150 million people with more than 150 ethnic groups is broadly divided between the Christian-dominated south and the Muslim north. The postelection violence spread quickly across northern states after early results showed that Jonathan, a Christian from the south, was winning.

Many northerners believed someone from their region should be the next leader after the Muslim president died in office. Former President Yar'Adua had been expected to rule for another term, before his death left the presidency in the hands of a southerner. An unwritten agreement in the ruling party calls for its presidential candidates to rotate between the country's Christian south and Muslim north.

Tensions in Nigeria are fueled by poverty and unemployment in a country where an unreliable power supply has led to the closure of factories and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the textile industry alone over the last few years, especially in the Muslim north.