JOS, Nigeria (CDN) — Suspected Islamic extremists bombed three churches in Kaduna state June 17, the third consecutive Sunday that worship services in Nigeria have ended in lethal bloodshed.
In Zaria, a suicide bomber crashed a car into a barricade at an Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) church at around 9 a.m., setting off explosives that killed at least 24 people and wounded 125, according to one unconfirmed report citing an anonymous state official. A few minutes later, suspected Islamic extremists set off explosives at Christ the King Catholic Church in Zaria. An eyewitness told Compass Direct News that at least 10 corpses were removed from the cathedral, with dozens of people injured, many critically.
At press time the Nigerian Red Cross Society reported the death toll from the blast at the Catholic church had reached 16. A short while later, a Pentecostal congregation called Shalom Church in Kaduna city was bombed, killing at least 10, according to the Red Cross. Retaliatory attacks reportedly killed several others.
The attacks were believed to have been carried out by the Boko Haram Islamic sect, which took responsibility for similar attacks in Plateau and Borno states on June 10 and in Bauchi state on June 3. Andrew Gani-Ikilami, executive director of the Wusasa Business School in Zaria, said many of the victims arriving at the area hospital were children. Taylor Adeyemi, medical director at St. Luke’s (Anglican) Hospital Wusasa in Zaria, confirmed the report. “40 injured Christians have been brought to the hospital, and the majority of them are children,” Adeyemi said.