Bomb blasts, church attacks kill 29 in Nigeria (Second Lead)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

ABUJA/LAGOS - Twenty-nine people were killed in a series of bomb blasts and attacks on churches in Nigeria on Christmas eve, officials said Saturday.

According to Xinhua, at least 23 people were killed in the blasts that rocked restive Jos city, capital of the Plateau State, a local hospital official said.

Another 32 victims were receiving treatment in hospital, Ishaya Pam, chief medical director at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Earlier, a source, who declined to be named, said over phone from Jos that he counted more than 20 bodies at the JUTH Saturday morning.

At least nine explosions reportedly hit different parts of the state within an hour of each other late Friday.

An uneasy calm prevailed in the state after the attacks as local Christians celebrated Christmas.

The spokesperson to state governor James Mannok described the situation as beyond ordinary imagination. “All I can confirm for now is that bombs exploded in three places. The effect is devastating. I can’t say more,” he told Xinhua.

State Commissioner for Information Greg Yenlong said the incident confirmed threats and rumours of more attacks on the Plateau.

The blasts came a week after a Nigerian court sentenced 15 people each to 10 years in prison for involvement in violent clashes in Jos in March.

Jos was plunged in bloody violence March 7, when members of local Muslim and Christian communities fought each other in revenge for previous killings.

Police said 109 people were killed in the March 7 tragedy, mostly women and children, weeks after hundreds died in waves of sectarian violence in the region.

Observers have said the clashes are more than religious, as the Muslims, largely nomadic herdsmen from the north of the country, come into conflict with farming Christians from the south.

In another incident, six people were killed after suspected sect members attacked two churches in Maidugri, capital of northern Nigeria’s Borno State Friday night.

The casualties included five people at a Baptist church and a security guard at another church, according to state police chief Mohammed Abubakar.

Filed under: Terrorism

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