- Title: NIGERIA: Suicide bomber kills 8, injures 100 in Nigerian church
- Date: 28th October 2012
- Summary: POLICE AND EMERGENCY WORKERS CORDONING OFF THE SITE OF THE BLAST
- Embargoed: 12th November 2012 12:00
- Location: Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Crime,Conflict,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAESIN77XI6BWREQFZ7D144OPX7
- Story Text: A suicide bomber drives a jeep packed with explosives into a church in northern Nigeria, killing at least eight people.
A suicide bomber drove a jeep packed with explosives into a Catholic church in northern Nigeria on Sunday (October 28), killing at least eight people, injuring more than 100 and triggering reprisal attacks that killed at least two more, officials said.
The bomber drove right into the packed St Rita's church in the Malali area of Kaduna, a volatile ethnically and religiously mixed city, in the morning, witnesses said.
A wall of the church was blasted open and scorched black, with debris lying around.
"We the catholic cadets of the church, we put our road block down here, so the man came in a jeep, at a high speed, we saw that he could pass through the gates, he reversed back and lurched forward in full speed so nobody could control him. When he entered we heard the sound of the blast, then we started trying to rescue people," said Julius Bulus, a cadet of the church who lost a sister during the blast.
A spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Yushua Shuaib said eight people had been confirmed killed and more than 100 injured.
John Lamar, a resident in Kaduna whose house is located close to the church, gave his account of the incident.
"I saw a jeep speeding down and a Volkswagen Golf was chasing after it in reverse. When I asked, I was told that the jeep crashed the bumper of the Golf. The next thing, I saw the guy go through the fence of the church, the next thing, I saw myself in darkness. (Journalist asking: Did you see the number of victims?) Yes I was there, I saw bodies on the ground immediately, and a lot of people injured," he said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but Islamist sect Boko Haram has claimed similar attacks in the past and has attacked several churches with bombs and guns as it intensified its campaign against Christians in the past year.
Shortly after the blast, angry Christian youths took to the streets armed with sticks and knives. A Reuters reporter saw two bodies at the roadside lying in pools of blood.
Police set up roadblocks and patrols across the town in an effort to prevent the violence spreading.
A spokesman for St Gerard's Catholic hospital said the hospital was treating 14 injured.
Some of them recounted what had happened.
"He didn't know how he could enter through the gates, so he hit through the wall and the car exploded at the back of the choir, where they are seated. I heard that some people died and I saw some lying flat on the floor," said Veronica Ejiro, a member of St. Rita's church who had survived the blast.
Church attacks often target Nigeria's middle belt, where its largely Christian south and mostly Muslim north meet and where sectarian tensions run high. Kaduna's mixed population lies along that faultline.
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