ABUJA (Reuters) - A radical Islamist sect based in northeastern Nigeria claimed responsibility on Friday for a bomb attack on the country's police headquarters, according to a statement sent to a local newspaper.
Police said they believed a suicide bomber detonated the explosives, which tore through the car park outside the headquarters in the capital Abuja on Thursday, killing several people. They blamed radical Islamist sect Boko Haram.
The Daily Trust, a newspaper with a large readership in the mostly-Muslim north, on Friday published what it said was a statement signed by Abu Zaid, a spokesman for Boko Haram.
"We would speak on the details of the Mujahid (bomber) at the appropriate time but the fact is that he is a martyr who sacrificed his life for the sake of Allah," the statement said.
Boko Haram has an ill-defined structure and chain of command and it was not possible to verify the statement independently.
At least two people were confirmed killed in the blast, the driver of the vehicle which exploded and a police officer who got into the car at a security checkpoint.
Five body bags were taken from the scene containing body parts and it was too soon to give a toll, rescue workers said.
Security analysts said it was difficult to say whether the bomber had meant to blow himself up or whether the explosives had detonated accidentally while he was still in the vehicle.
If proved to have been deliberate, it would be the first suicide bomb attack in Africa's most populous nation.
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(Reporting by Afolabi Sotunde and Joe Brock; Writing by Nick Tattersall; editing by David Stamp)