Nigeria blasts: 21 killed, 100 injured

2012-06-17 21:14

Kaduna - Three suicide bomb attacks on churches rocked a northern Nigerian state Sunday, killing at least 21 people and wounding about 100, officials said, prompting protests in a state that has previously been strained by religious tensions.

The first two blasts occurred within minutes of each other and targeted two churches in the city of Zaria, said Kaduna State police chief Mohammed Abubakar Jinjiri. A third blast hit a church in the city of Kaduna about half an hour later, Jinjiri said.

An official working for a relief agency involved in rescue efforts said on Sunday evening that 21 people had been killed and that at least 100 people were wounded in Sunday's blasts. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he said he wasn't authorised to speak to journalists.

Earlier in the day, Nigerian Red Cross official Andronicus Adeyemo said the Zaria attacks killed the bomber and at least one other person and left 51 wounded. The Kaduna attack claimed 10 more lives, he said, and wounded 29 people.

Jinjiri said security at the three churches prevented the suicide bombers from ramming explosive-laden cars into the buildings filled with worshippers.

"If not for security, there would have been [many] more casualties," Jinjiri said.

Churches have been increasingly targeted by violence in Nigeria. The situation has led churches in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north to boost their security in a nation of more than 160 million people almost equally divided between Muslims and Christians.

Last weekend, a suicide car bomber detonated his explosives outside a church in central Nigeria as gunmen attacked another church in the nation's northeast, killing at least six people and wounding dozens of others.

Attacks on Christian holidays have claimed the most lives. An Easter Day blast in Kaduna left at least 38 people dead. A Christmas Day suicide bombing of a Catholic church in Madalla near Nigeria's capital killed at least 44 people.

680 people

Police arrested one of the bombers who survived. Jinjiri declined to say who police suspected might be responsible, though a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram has claimed similar church attacks in the past.

The Nigerian Red Cross said young people had started protesting in Kaduna, leading the state government to impose a 24-hour curfew in a state deeply divided along religious lines. An Associated Press reporter also saw billows of smoke over a mosque in a predominantly Christian part of the city. People had mounted illegal roadblocks and were seen harassing motorists.

A motorcycle rider in that same neighborhood lay seriously hurt and bleeding by the road side. Motorbike riders there are often presumed to be Muslim and become easy targets during reprisal attacks by Christians.

Kaduna state, which sits on Nigeria's dividing line between its largely Christian south and Muslim north, was at the heart of post-election violence in April 2011. Mobs armed with machetes and poison-tipped arrows took over streets of Kaduna and the state's rural countryside after election officials declared President Goodluck Jonathan the winner.

Followers of his main opponent, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim, quickly alleged the vote had been rigged, though observers largely declared the vote fair.

According to Human Rights Watch, at least 800 were killed in the postelection violence. Of the 800, at least 680 people were killed in Kaduna State alone.

  • delzpac - 2012-06-17 21:47

    D bible ve said it all: ''They wil ban u fro synagogues.Infact,a time is comin wen anyone who kills u will think he is offering service to God''. John16;2. Another bomb blast again today! Who re they killin for? God or who? Verse 3 said,''They wil do dese tins bcuz they vent known d Faher or me.''

      wallace.outkast - 2012-06-19 14:58

      well said brother

  • Ingadi - 2012-06-18 05:01

    mix muslims with black culture and you get the worse murderous scum demons on this planet. they hate everything and kill everything. they have no soul or heart. they kill eachother untill the end of days

      omonaija - 2012-06-18 12:30

      Your comment almost went unnoticed but my eye caught it and i had a look at your fake profile to determine what kind of mental state you are in.It is a shame that people like you still exist among the human race.Everything for you is about color,what a waste of oxygen you are.I bet you think you are intelligent ,well think again.

      wallace.outkast - 2012-06-19 14:59

      durty racist pig!!!!

  • Durell Mason Dunn - 2012-06-18 06:29

    If your religion teaches you to make war against humanity and disturb the peace, then you're slowly killing yourself. GOD is Love not war.

  • Temitope Nathan - 2012-06-18 09:52

    o my God!! i jst culdn't stop wonderin y wud God allow dis devels calld muslims to exist between His own beloved pipu......

  • bernard.bracka - 2012-06-18 09:57

    Why can't they just split the country...christianity and muslim cant exists peacefully on one terriotory while both are dominant. inocent civilians are dying in the name of religious beliefs and revenges.

      lynnethbs - 2012-06-18 10:53

      they will still cross over to come kill Christians that will not solve the problem

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