23rd September, 2012
A bomb has reportedly gone off at St. John’s Catholic Church at Bayan Gari in Bauchi, north western Nigeria, killing at least three persons and many injured.
The explosion occurred at 9:26am today. The level of casualties is still being ascertained, with Red Cross officials and the National Emergency Management Agency officials declining to give specifics.
“It was not a sucide bomber“, a government official was quoted to have said. But the AFP reported that the explosion was by a suicide bomber.
The NEMA agency said “a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device close to a worship centre in Wunti Area of Bauchi State. Rescuers have evacuated the dead and injured… Casualty figure cannot be determined now.”
A Red Cross official confirmed the target was St. John’s Catholic Church.
Bauchi state police spokesman Mohammed Hassan told AFP that several people had “lost their lives”. He declined to give a figure but said that he and other officers were at a Bauchi hospital assessing the casualties.
Bauchi has previously been targetted by the radical Islamist group Boko Haram, blamed for more than 1,400 deaths in Nigeria since 2010.
A suicide bomber who tried to drive an explosives-packed truck into a church in the city on June 3 killed at least 15 people and wounded dozens. The attack was later claimed by Boko Haram.
Suicide blasts targetting Christian Sunday services were a near weekly occurrence in Nigeria earlier this year, but the violence had ebbed recently.
Boko Haram has said it wants to create an Islamic state in the country’s mainly Muslim north, but its demands have varied widely since the group relaunched its insurgency in 2010.
The latest attack occurred in an area where four other attacks had occurred. The People’s Hotel located nearby was previously bombed.
It was not clear whether the bomb was a reaction by the sect to the massive crackdown on the members in Kano, Maiduguri and Potiskum.