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Nigerian man 'put in mental institute for being atheist'

Mubarak Bala has been detained and medicated, his lawyer says.
Mubarak Bala has been detained and medicated, his lawyer says. Credit: International Humanist and Ethical Union

A Nigerian man has been detained and medicated in a mental institution on the grounds of being an atheist, a campaign group has claimed.

Mubarak Bala, 29, has been held against his will at the hospital in Kano - a deeply Islamic part of the country - for almost two weeks, the International Humanist and Ethical Union says.

According to the group, Mr Bala's Muslim family alleged that he was showing signs of delusion after he decided he no longer believed in God.

Bamidele Adeneye, a lawyer who has taken up the case, says: “Kano is a Sharia state and there are many similar cases occurring, where people are forcefully oppressed just because of their beliefs or for conservative religious reasons, or for the “honour” of their family."

A petition for Mr Bala's release has now reached almost 3,000 signatures at the time of writing.

'Every step' taken to monitor insurgents in Nigeria

A government spokesman has said Abuja residents should remain calm tonight, saying that security agencies are now "handling the situation."

The latest explosion in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, killed 21 and injured 17 people in a shopping complex.

Spokesman Mike Omeri told AP: "Every step is being taken by the government to check the activities of insurgents in the country."

Bodies of victims of a bomb blast are carried away from the scene in Abuja. Credit: REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

More: At least 21 dead in Nigeria explosion

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Aftermath of Abuja rush-hour bomb blast

Injured men and women have arrived at the Maitama general hospital in Abuja, after a shopping complex bomb blast killed 21 and injured 17.

A man is brought into the hospital after being injured in the Abuja blast. Credit: REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Firefighters douse cars after a bomb blast at a crowded shopping district in Abuja. Credit: REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
A woman weeps at the scene of the explosion. Credit: REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

More: At least 21 dead in Nigeria explosion

Shoppers were 'blood stained' after Abuja blast

After an explosion in the popular Banex Plaza shopping district in Abuja, Nigeria, witnesses spoke of seeing people covered in blood in the direct aftermath.

One shopper Gimbya Jafaru, 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."

People look at the devastation after a bomb destroyed a shopping area in Abuja. Credit: AP

At least 21 people have been killed and 17 were injured according to the latest reports.

More: At least 21 dead in Nigeria explosion

Nigerian blast death toll rises to 21 in Abuja

The death toll following an explosion in Nigeria has climbed to 21, police have said.

17 others were wounded after the blast tore through a shopping district in Abuja during rush hour.

The explosion rocked an area near the popular Banex Plaza. Credit: AP

Police spokesman Frank Mba told reporters: "After a preliminary investigation we can confirm that 21 people were killed and 17 injured."

It is unclear who is responsible for the explosion at this stage.

More: At least 21 dead in Nigeria explosion

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Nigerian security forces deny abduction reports

Nigerian security forces have denied reports that 60 girls and women and 31 boys have been abducted in the northeast of the country.

There is no way to safely and independently confirm the report from Kummabza, located 95 miles from the capital of Borno state, the Associated Press reported.

Aji Khalil, of a local anti-Boko Haram group, told AP the abductions took place Saturday in an attack in which four villagers were killed.

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