E 17 sono rimaste ferite.
The explosion was in the capital’s Wuse district, near the popular Banex plaza shopping complex, and could be heard from miles away.
It is not yet clear what was behind the explosion. The military and emergency services have been sent to the area.
Islamist militant group Boko Haram has bombed targets across northern Nigeria in recent years.
“After a preliminary investigation we can confirm that 21 people were killed and 17 injured,” police spokesman Frank Mba told reporters.
Smoke rising near the scene of the blast, in Wuse 2, Abuja, 26 June 2014
The explosion was heard for miles around
Authorities say they cannot confirm the total number of casualties as they are trying to secure the area.
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