Car bombing at northern Nigerian church kills three
BAUCHI – A suicide car bomber drove into a north Nigeria church’s compound yesterday and detonated his explosives as worshippers left an early morning service, killing at least three people and wounding dozens more, officials and witnesses said.
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 the corpses of those killed. 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. Police officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
An Associated Press reporter saw injured people arriving at a local hospital.
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, according to an AP count. The sect’s targets have included churches, often attacked by suicide car bombers.