- Title: NIGERIA: Christmas Day blast victims recover in hospital in Abuja
- Date: 28th December 2011
- Summary: WOUNDED CHILD IN MOTHER'S ARMS (SOUNDBITE) (English) MOTHER, JOY UCHE, SAYING: "When I saw what had happened I went for them and I thought they were dead. I run, I run and I ran around to see if there were any dead bodies there. Then I saw him with the bib in a critical condition. I ran out to look for a motorcycle to take them out of there. People are too much."
- Embargoed: 12th January 2012 12:00
- Location: Nigeria, Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Crime,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA8TWJ4S6T2NKCFGQO9PNG5T6HO
- Story Text: In a hospital in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Tuesday (December 27), the victims of a spate of Christmas Day bombings by Islamist militants that killed over two dozen people are still recovering.
The wounds of the bombings are still fresh and Northern Nigerian Christians have warned the attacks could lead to a religious war.
A warning was made in a statement by the northern branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria, or CAN, an umbrella organisation comprising various denominations including Catholics, Protestant and pentecostal churches.
The Boko Haram Islamist sect, which aims to impose sharia Islamic law across Nigeria, claimed responsibility for the blasts, the second Christmas in a row it has caused carnage at Christian churches.
Victims described the horror immediately after the blasts:
"When I saw what had happened I went for them and I thought they were dead. I run, I run and I ran around to see if there were any dead bodies there. Then I saw him with the bib in a critical condition. I ran out to look for a motorcycle to take them out of there. People are too much," the mother of an injured child, Joy Uche, said.
"I was there, standing. Suddenly I hear, 'Wham!' And I don't know where it came from. So as the thing happened I started running. Then as I was running a woman came to me and grabbed me and shouted, 'I am pregnant and I need you to help me.' So luckily someone stopped in a jeep and took me to hospital," bomb survivor, Chinyere Amechii, said.
The most deadly attack killed at least 27 people in the St Theresa Catholic church in Madalla, a town on the edge of the capital Abuja, and devastated surrounding buildings and cars as faithful poured out of the church after Christmas mass.
Tit-for-tat sectarian violence between the mostly Muslim north and the largely Christian south has claimed thousands of lives in the past decade and could be revived.
"I just heard, 'Wham!'...and my ear closed. I couldn't hear anything again. When I came out here something hit me. Like someone hit me. So I had to come out for my motorbike with my children. They still hadn't touched us but then my motorbike and the one out near the gate and the out back caught fire. Then we ran out outside, we were outside and we heard another 'Boom!' So we couldn't stand and wait, with my daughter and everybody. They take me out of the room to look at my wound. That is what I am able to say happened. The bomb, the blood that has spilled, that is a tragedy," bomb survivor, Ahinuke Okoro, said.
Seeking to calm tensions, a powerful Muslim traditional ruler, the Sultan of Sokoto Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar said it was not a conflict between Muslims and Christians or between Islam and Christianity.
CAN leaders warned Christians will be forced to defend themselves against further attacks however.
Officials have confirmed 32 people died in the wave of attacks across Nigeria, though local media have put the number higher.
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