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First suicide attack hits Nigeria

An Islamist blew himself up outside police headquarters in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Thursday in what is believed to be the first suicide bombing in the country’s history.

The group ‘Boko Haram’ claimed responsibility for the attack that killed at least six people – including the bomber – and injured several more.

"We are responsible for the bomb attack on the police headquarters in Abuja which was to prove a point to all those who doubt our capability,” said a statement signed by Abu Zaid, Boko Haram’s spokesman.

Zaid said the intention had been to kill Nigeria’s chief of police in retaliation for recent comments in which he said he would crush Boko Haram which has launched a string of bomb attacks in northern Nigeria in recent months.

Nigerian police said the bomber was driving a Mercedes Benz packed with explosives and had joined a convoy including the police chief which entered the headquarters in Abuja.

When the driver was directed to an adjacent car park the explosives were detonated instantly killing both the bomber and a traffic policeman who was also in the car. 33 other cars were destroyed and 40 more damaged in the explosion.

A separate bomb attack hours later outside a church in the northern town of Damboa killed for children.