3 die in Nigeria reprisal attacks

2012-02-26 20:10

Jos - Christian youths rioted on Sunday in the Nigerian city of Jos, killing at least three people in suspected reprisal attacks after a suicide bomber killed three at a church, witnesses said.

An AFP reporter saw three bodies lying by a street near the bombed church. Elsewhere, he saw a row of Muslim-owned shops that were apparently burned by the rampaging youths.

"There was a rampage by angry Christian youths after the blast at the church. They marched on the streets and set up a barricade on the road leading to the church. They also burned down shops owned by Muslims," said resident Bello Mohammed.

He said he heard that four people were killed in the rioting, but an AFP correspondent saw three bodies, watched over by soldiers who were deployed to the city.

Earlier a suicide bomber had smashed his explosives-laden car through the gates of a packed church during Sunday service, killing three people and injuring dozens, Church leaders said.

Witnesses said a black car crashed through the gate of a perimeter fence and exploded a few metres from the wall of an 800-seater church hall in the central city.

Bulus Gambo said "youths were very angry and mobilised ... and I overheard them saying they were going to avenge the attack".

The city of Jos and its environs in Plateau State are one of the most volatile areas in Nigeria, where hundreds of people have been killed in a spate of sectarian clashes between Muslim and Christian ethnic groups in recent years.

State officials appealed for calm after the blast and the rioting, urging people not to take the law into their hands.

Read more on:    nigeria  |  west africa  |  uprisings

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