Nigeria hit by twin car bombings which leaves at least 46 dead

LAGOS (AFP) - Twin car bombings on Tuesday killed at least 46 in central Nigeria in the latest in a series of deadly blasts that will stoke fears about security despite international help in the fight against Boko Haram Islamists.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan swiftly condemned the attack in the central city of Jos, calling it a "tragic assault on human freedom" and condemning the perpetrators as "cruel and evil".

"President Jonathan assures all Nigerians that (the) government remains fully committed to winning the war against terror and... will not be cowed by the atrocities of enemies of human progress and civilisation," his office said.

Forty-five people were also injured in the attack where improvised explosive devices were hidden in a truck and a minibus, according to the military.

Most of the victims were women, Pam Ayuba, spokesman for Plateau state governor Jonah Jang, said, while the emergency services said their workers were caught up in the second blast as they attended victims from the first.

Plateau, of which Jos is the capital, falls in Nigeria's so-called Middle Belt, where the mainly Christian south meets the Muslim-majority north.

The state and its religiously divided capital have seen deadly sectarian clashes in the past as well as attacks from Boko Haram extremists.

The deadly strike and a suicide car bomb attack that killed four in the northern city of Kano on Sunday will raise questions about the government's grip on the country's security.

The Kano bombing in a predominantly Christian neighbourhood of the ancient city and commercial hub has previously been hit by the Islamist militants, although a political motive has not been ruled out.

There was no immediate indication of who was responsible for the latest attacks and the police in Kano said they had arrested two men, but the Boko Haram insurgency is Nigeria's most pressing security issue.

The militants claimed responsibility for an April 14 car bomb attack on a bus station in a suburb of the capital Abuja which killed 75.

They are also suspected of carrying out a copy-cat bombing in the same location on May 1 which left 19 dead.