Nigeria Bombing Kills 38 in City of Kaduna
A suicide car bomber killed at least 38 people on Sunday morning on a busy road in the Nigerian city of Kaduna, after apparently turning away from attacking churches holding Easter services.
The blast left charred motorcycles and debris strewn across a major road, where many gather to eat at informal restaurants and buy black market petrol.
Nearby hotels and homes had their windows blown out and roofs torn away by the force of the explosion.
Two churches were badly damaged as churchgoers worshipped at an Easter service, the possible target of the bomber. Witnesses said it appeared the car attempted to enter the compound of the churches, but was blocked by barriers in the street and turned away by a security guard as police approached.
“We were in the holy communion service and I was exhorting my people and all of a sudden, we heard a loud noise that shattered all our windows and doors, destroyed our fans and some of our equipment in the church,” Pastor Joshua Raji said.
While no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, suspicion fell on Boko Haram, the radical Islamist sect blamed for hundreds of killings in the nation this year alone. Some fear the attack could further inflame tensions around Kaduna, a region on the dividing line between Nigeria’s largely Christian south and Muslim north.
Churches have been increasingly targeted by violence on holy days in Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people of Christians and Muslims. A Christmas Day suicide bombing in Madalla near Nigeria’s capital killed at least 44 people.
Police and soldiers quickly cordoned off the blast site, though citizens looked on at the flames and damage.
Boko Haram is waging an increasingly bloody fight with security agencies and the public. More than 380 people have been killed in violence blamed on the sect this year alone, according to an Associated Press count.