JOS, NIGERIA (BNO NEWS) — Islamist militants attacked two churches in central and northeastern Nigeria on Sunday morning, killing at least six people and injuring more than 50 others, officials said. The radical Islamic sect ‘Boko Haram’ is believed to be responsible.
The first attack took place at around 11 a.m. local time at the entrance of Lord’s Chosen Church in Jos, a city in central Nigeria which divides a largely Muslim north and Christian south, when a suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden vehicle up to the front of the building.
Police said four people were killed in the attack while more than 50 others were injured, although some of the victims may have died in retaliatory violence by angry youths against Muslims. The Nigerian newspaper The Punch reported that the suicide bomber was forced to detonate his explosives after a group stopped him from reaching another church nearby.
In the second attack, which took place in the northeastern city of Biu in Borno state, a group of five gunmen opened fire at worshipers leaving a local church, killing at least two people and injuring several others. Some of those injured were said to be in a critical condition, according to local media reports.
A spokesman for the Boko Haram, which has been blamed for most of the region’s terrorist attacks, claimed responsibility for both attacks. The group is seeking the imposition of an extremist stance of the Shariah law, which is a Muslim code of conduct. The group’s name, in the local language of Hausa, roughly translates as ‘Western religion is sacrilegious’ or ‘non-Islamic religion is a sin.’
In late April, at least 20 people were killed when a group of Boko Haram militants riding a vehicle and two motorcycles targeted two church services at Bayero University in Nigeria’s northern city of Kano. The attackers hurled explosives and opened fire, killing scores of people and injuring others. It followed similar attacks against other Nigerian churches.