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At least 13 killed in bombing of Nigeria World Cup viewing venue

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[June 18, 2014]  DAMATURU Nigeria (Reuters) - At least 13 people including young children were killed when a bomb tore through a venue in northeast Nigeria where fans had gathered to watch a World Cup soccer match, witnesses said.

Some people at the scene told Reuters an attacker dropped a device in front of the venue on Tuesday night in the town of Damaturu and ran off, while others said it was the work of a suicide bomber.

No one claimed responsibility for the blast, but Damaturu and the surrounding Yobe state are at the heart of a five-year-old insurgency by Islamist group Boko Haram.

The group was blamed for a an attack on another venue screening soccer matches in the northeastern state of Adamawa that killed at least 14 people and wounded 12.

A Reuters reporter at Damaturu's General Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital counted 13 people dead - including small children - and at least 20 wounded.

The Nigerian government has advised people to avoid gathering in public to watch the World Cup, concerned about potential attacks.

Many fans in soccer-mad Africa rely on informal venues - often open-sided structures with televisions set up in shops and side streets - to watch live coverage of the sport.

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Boko Haram - whose name roughly translates as "Western education is sinful" - has declared war on all signs of what it sees as corrupting Western influence.

The group has killed thousands in its push to carve out an Islamic state in religiously-mixed Nigeria.

(Reporting by Joe Hemba; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Toby Chopra)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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