At least three dead in suicide blast at Nigeria church03/06/2012 - 12:55:55
At least three people have died and many people are wounded after a suicide car bomber drove into a north Nigeria church’s compound and detonated explosives as worshippers left an early morning service.
The bomber targeted the Living Faith church in a neighbourhood near the airport in Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi state.
The timed blast caught many people outside the church without any cover to protect themselves from the explosion, causing heavy casualties, witnesses said.
An initial report from the Nigerian Red Cross said at least three people had been killed and about 30 others wounded in the attack.
However, the number of dead remains unclear. Police and soldiers surrounded the church immediately after the explosion, stopping emergency workers from going inside to collect bodies. Witnesses who left the church after the blast said they saw as many as 10 dead.
A spokesman for Nigeria’s Federal Emergency Management Agency confirmed the explosion, but gave no details.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, though the blast comes as Nigeria faces a growing wave of sectarian violence carried out by a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s Muslim north, has been blamed for killing more than 530 people this year alone.
The group has been largely quiet since claiming a suicide car bombing and another attack at the offices of the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay on April 26 that killed at least seven people.
Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people, is split between a largely Muslim north and Christian south.