Nigeria Easter blast claims 36 lives

2012-04-09 08:48

At least 36 people have died in a car bombing near a church during the Easter weekend in a volatile city in northern Nigeria.

State Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Malam Abubakar Zakari Adamu said that in addition to the dead, 13 residents were seriously wounded while at least a dozen others were still in hospital suffering various injuries from the Easter Sunday bombing.

A bomber detonated an explosives-laden car at around 9 am (0800 GMT) in the city of Kaduna, at a busy junction not far from a church celebrating Easter services.

Commercial motorcyclists, hawkers and beggars were believed to make up the majority of the dead. Kaduna is a volatile region where religious tensions have left hundreds dead in recent years.

Witnesses indicated the car with explosives was likely trying to get closer to a church, but security arrangements forced the bomber to blow up the vehicle further away, in the middle of the crowded road.

There had been warnings that radical Islamist militia group Boko Haram might strike over the holiday, as the group regularly attacks during Christian holidays. No one has yet claimed responsibility for this latest blast.

In 2011, the Islamist group launched an attack that killed at least 42 people when it blew up a church near the capital, Abuja, during Christmas Day services.

Media reports in Nigeria also said that at least 20 people died in the central city of Makurdi when the roof of their church collapsed during services on Easter.

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