Another church bombed in Nigeria military barracks

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday's attack, but a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram has previously targeted churches and the military.

AP Photo
Soldiers stand guards outside St. Rita's Catholic church following a suicide bombing in Kaduna, Nigeria, Oct. 28. On Sunday, a church on a military compound in northern Nigeria was hit with twin car bombs. A radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram has been known to target churches and the military.

Twin car bombs hit a Protestant church in a major military establishment in north-central Nigeria, officials said Sunday, a month after a church bombing in the same state killed at least seven people and injured more than a hundred others.

The first explosion occurred after a church service Sunday in a military barracks in Jaji town in Kaduna state, said National Emergency Management Agency spokesman Yushau Shuaib.

A second blast occurred just outside the church minutes later at about 1 p.m., said a medic who required anonymity because she is not authorized to speak to the press. She said the church targeted was a Protestant church.

Shuaib said the casualties are not yet known.

Police spokesman Aminu Lawan declined to comment, saying that it was a military matter. A military spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Marks of Boko Haram?

Civilian authorities in Nigeria are generally reluctant to comment on military affairs. But Jaji is a symbolic target as it is home to the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, one of the country's most important military colleges, training Nigerian and foreign navy, air force, and army officers.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday's attack, but a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram has previously targeted Nigerian military institutions in the past.

The attack comes two days after a special military taskforce announced that it would be giving a total of $1.8 million in rewards for information that could lead to the arrest of top Boko Haram members.

The twin blasts also came a month after another church was attacked in the city of Kaduna, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away from Jaji.

In that attack, a suicide bomber rammed an SUV loaded with explosives into St. Rita's Catholic church holding Mass on Oct. 28 in Kaduna, killing at least seven people and wounding more than 100 others, authorities said.

The killings sparked instant reprisals in a city with a history of religious violence, leaving at least two more people dead.

Churches have been increasingly targeted by violence in Nigeria. In Kaduna state, there were church attacks on three weekends in a row in June. These attacks and the ensuing reprisals left at least 50 people dead.

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the June attacks, but nobody has claimed responsibility for the latest attacks — last month and Sunday — which have again rocked the volatile state.

Kaduna state sits on Nigeria's dividing line between its largely Christian south and Muslim north.

* Yinka Ibukun contributed to this report from Lagos, Nigeria.

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