A suicide bomber has killed twelve people, including two boys and a pregnant woman, after detonating an explosive device just outside a church in Nigeria.
The car bomb was detonated outside the gate of St. Finbarr’s Catholic Church on 11 March 2012. It could be heard up to two kilometres away, shattering the glass in buildings within a 200-metre radius.
The Rev. Emmanuel Kundum told Compass Direct News that he heard the explosion at 10:30 AM.
I saw members of our church rushing out from the church – many were injured and others were dead.
The bombing has led to outbreaks of more violence, and some Nigerian health and police sources have reported unconfirmed ‘reprisal’ attacks against Muslims. Witnesses have also reported additional deaths of Christians at the hands of military personnel. Some sources said soldiers killed four Christians when they were confronted about how the car containing the bomb had made it past security.
It is believed the attacks are the work of Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group that seeks to impose a strict version of Sharia (Islamic law) in Nigeria. This is the second such bombing in the Christian community of Jos in Plateau State in recent weeks.
An earlier bombing at a church in late February killed several people.
The Anglican Archbishop of Jos, Rt Rev Benjamin Kwashi, said,
A palpable terror is being unleashed on Christians so that Sunday is transformed from a day of worship into a day of fear. We are appealing to the church worldwide to pray without ceasing, and to members of the international community to speak up and take action on our behalf so that we are able to enjoy full religious freedom and worship God freely and without fear.
- Pray that those mourning the loss of loved ones will find comfort in Christ.
- Pray that Christians will be peacemakers in the midst of conflict and violence.
- Pray that God will help Nigerian Christians to trust God to bring true justice (Romans 12:17-21).