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Twin car bombs killed at least 21 people outside an upmarket shopping mall in Nigeria's capital Abuja on Wednesday, police said. At least 17 people were injured in the blasts at the popular Banex Plaza shopping center, Assistant Inspector General Suleiman A. Abba told NBC News. Chiledu Ammi, manager of a beauty salon in the shopping center, said the aftermath of the blast was a scene of carnage, and as many as 50 police officers and firefighters had now taken over the area.

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Another witness, Gimbya Jafaru who was shopping nearby, told Reuters: "I heard a loud blast, it shattered the windows of the shop. We ran out. A lot of people ran too, some with blood stains." A video showed emergency service workers hosing down lines of blackened cars and tweets from the area saw smoke filling the sky above the city, although these could not be verified by NBC News. Nigeria is hit by bomb blasts and gun attacks every week, widely suspected to be perpetrated by the Islamist group Boko Haram.


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Reuters contributed to this report.

— Alexander Smith