PORT HARCOURT - A suspected armed robber was killed when explosives his gang was transporting accidentally went off in the center of Nigeria's main oil city of Port Harcourt on Thursday, police said.

The blast ripped through a minibus carrying at least three suspected robbers, four AK-47 rifles and a large amount of ammunition, Rivers State Police Commissioner Mohammed Abdulkadir Indabawa told Reuters.

Two people in the bus and a woman who was nearby were injured in the explosion, he added.

"We suspect they were armed robbers going (on) an operation, and things went wrong for them," said Indabawa.

Port Harcourt is at the heart of Nigeria's 2 million plus barrel a day (bpd) oil industry and has been plagued by militant groups and criminal gangs cashing in on the money it generates.

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