KADUNA – (AFP) – A suspected suicide attacker slammed a car bomb into a church during services on Sunday in the city of Kaduna, killing two other people and sparking reprisal attacks by Christians.
Christian youths took to the streets with machetes and sticks afterward, targeting people they believed to be Muslims as anger again boiled over due to the repeated church bombings in recent months, an AFP correspondent reported.
A vehicle for rescue workers was attacked in the ensuing violence, but there was no indication that rescuers were wounded.
“At least three people are confirmed dead,” a rescue official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to give out figures. He was speaking of the toll from the suicide bombing.
He added later that the toll included the suspected attacker and that there were a number of injuries.
The strong blast that saw the attacker ram what residents said was an SUV into St. Rita church shook the neighbourhood and led to the reprisals in the city previously hit by violence blamed on Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.
The rescue source said the attacker had sought to drive into the church, but seemed to have hit a barrier. Others in the area said the bomber continued to drive after hitting the church wall and made his way inside the church premises.
“All of a sudden it drove on high speed and rammed into the church wall, forcing its way into the church premises,” said witness Samuel Emmanuel.
“Initially I thought the driver had lost control of the vehicle. Suddenly there was a huge explosion as the car reached the church building. It was dust, fire and smoke all over.”
A spokesman for Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency said it had received reports of a bomb blast in the area of a Catholic church and rushed rescuers to the scene.
“They were talking about a bomb explosion,” said Yushau Shuaib of the reports, while adding that his agency was however seeking to confirm details.
“A number of casualties evacuated to hospitals. The incident was suspected to be triggered by a suicide bomber in a car …”
He said later that a rescue vehicle had been attacked in the violence afterward, but no workers were wounded.
An AFP correspondent said mobs were yelling “why the church?” and some were carrying weapons, including machetes. Local elders were seeking to restore calm.
Residents had earlier spoken of clashes having broken out between Christian and Muslim residents.
The explosion occurred in the Malali area of the city. Kaduna, a major city in Nigeria’s north, has been previously hit by attacks blamed on Boko Haram.
The attack came after Friday’s Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, but it was not clear if there was any link.
In June, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for three suicide attacks on churches in Kaduna state, where the city of Kaduna is located, which led to deadly rioting. Dozens of people were killed in the violence.
Boko Haram’s insurgency in northern and central Nigeria has led to more than 2,800 deaths since 2009. While Muslims have often been its victims, it has in recent months specifically targeted churches.
President Goodluck Jonathan has said the group is seeking to incite a religious crisis in Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer, roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south.
Kaduna is a large city in the north and with a sizable Christian population.
Nigerians have grown increasingly frustrated with security forces’ inability to stop Boko Haram attacks, and there have been warnings of more reprisals if the violence continued.
Some Evangelical church leaders have said Christians may be forced to defend themselves if something is not done to address the violence.
Comments are moderated. Please keep them clean and brief.
Rate this article
74-year-old Jean-Claude Mas, founder and Chief Executive of Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) The founder of a French breast implant company has been sentenced to four years ...
#JustAsking: Why Are Nigerians Displeased President Jonathan Was Not Listed To Pay Tribute To Mandela? Leave your thoughts….
President Jonathan at the lying-in-state of Nelson Mandela in Pretoria, South Africa Why are Nigerians displeased that President Jonathan was not listed amongst those that paid ...
PRETORIA – Toryna Lewis, who says she was a racist under South Africa’s oppressive apartheid system, wept as she described the sea change she and ...
What are we not going to see or hear in this country of ours, it is only here extra ordinary things take place...Can you guys ...
Delta State boxer, Okoro Vwerosuo on Tuesday, became the first female boxing champion as events at the National Youth Games (NYG) entered day three. Vwerosuo punched ...
When I read this article, couldn't help but say that Charly Boy really took it by the horns this time, even with all the controversies ...
A revered Islamic cleric, Sheik Aliyu Harazumi bin Sani Muhammad has died in Kano. The fallen Tijjaniyya Sheik died in his sleep Tuesday night at his ...
An apparently angry and frustrated ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo has written what clearly competes as one of the most acerbic letters in modern history to President ...
2 hours ago // News | General | SEE The Fake Life Nigerian Girls London Live In London ...
PRETORIA – Nelson Mandela’s funeral cortege has begun its solemn journey to the seat of South African government in Pretoria, where it will lie in ...
Founder and General Overseer of the Synagogue Church, Prophet T.B. Joshua says in an unusual manner, God did not reveal the death of Ghana’s President, ... Full story