Monday 16 October 2017

Gunmen, suicide bomber in attacks on Nigerian churches

A view of the entrance to the police headquarters in Nigeria's northeastern city of Maiduguri after a bomb attack. Photo: Reuters
A view of the entrance to the police headquarters in Nigeria's northeastern city of Maiduguri after a bomb attack. Photo: Reuters

Mike Pflanz in Nairobi

SUSPECTED Islamist militants launched two separate attacks on churches in northern Nigeria yesterday, killing several people.

Five gunmen sprayed bullets into crowds of worshippers waiting for the start of a Sunday service in Biu Town in Borno state, and a suicide bomber detonated explosives outside another church in Jos, 260 miles away.

At least four people died and more than 40 were injured, including several who remained in a critical condition last night.

The incidents are the latest attacks on church congregations in Nigeria's majority-Muslim north, where an armed Islamist group, Boko Haram, has vowed to force Christians out. There were no immediate claims of responsibility, but both bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram.

"The gunmen came to the premises and started firing at people outside, before going into the main building to carry on their killings," said Hamidu Wakawa, who was at the Biu Town church. At least one woman was killed and three injured. The men escaped before bystanders could catch them, witnesses said.

In Jos, rescue workers were still clearing the rubble from the Christ Chosen Church last night. The force of the suicide bomber's explosives destroyed the church, said a police spokesman.

The bomber and two churchgoers died and 41 other people were treated for their injuries.

Boko Haram has been blamed for hundreds of killings in bomb or gun attacks over the past two years, and is choosing targets over an ever-wider area of northern Nigeria. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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