Explosion halts Nigerian train but no one hurt, cause unknown

An explosion damaged coaches on a Nigerian passenger train and part of the railway track beneath, prompting the national rail company to suspend services between the capital and a major northern city.

The blast on the Abuja-Kaduna line on Wednesday night also damaged the fuel tank but did not cause any casualties, the Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC) said.

The cause was unknown.

Writing on Twitter, Shehu Sani, a Nigerian senator who said he was on the train, attributed the explosion to the work of “terrorists” but did not provide evidence.

Nigeria is battling an Islamist insurgency in the northeast where armed bandits have kidnapped hundreds of students, travellers and villagers for ransom, leaving the population terrified.

A Reuters witness on board the train said he heard a loud bang, which forced the train to stop. The lights and air conditioning system were immediately turned off.

“We are pleased to inform the public that there were no reported casualties on either the passengers or the train crew,” NRC said in a statement.

Pictures circulating on social media showed a shattered front window, damage to coaches, and people inspecting destroyed parts of the track.

Some travellers are opting to travel by rail after several people were kidnapped by armed bandits on some of Nigeria’s highways, especially in the northwest of the country.

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