Deaths in Nigeria church attack
Police are investigating a shooting spree at a church in the northern city of Gombe that left six people dead.
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2012 13:35

Gunmen stormed a church service in Nigeria, killing six people and wounding others, the latest in a string of attacks that has raised fears of sectarian conflict in Africa's most populous nation.

Nigerian police told the AFP news agency they were investigating the attack that took place at the Deeper Life Christian Ministry Church in the northern city of Gombe.

Church pastor John Jauro said confusion broke out when the gunmen opened fire and that his wife was among the dead. The number of attackers was not clear.

"It was around 7:30 pm (1830 GMT)," Pastor Jauro told AFP. "I was leading the congregation in prayers. Our eyes were closed when some gunmen stormed the church and opened fire on the congregation. Six people were killed in the attack."

Gombe state police spokesman Ahmed Muhammad confirmed on Friday that six people died following the shootings, and that eight others were wounded.

There was no claim of responsibility for Thursday's attack. Police said an investigation was ongoing,but declined to say whether the Islamist group Boko Haram was suspected.


Thursday's attack comes after a purported spokesman for Boko Haram on Sunday issued a three-day ultimatum for Christians living in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north to leave the region or they would be killed.

The ultimatum came after President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday declared a state of emergency in parts of four states hit hard by violence blamed on Boko Haram, particulary Christmas bombings that killed at least 40 people.

Gombe is outside the areas affected by the state of emergency decree.

On Wednesday night, bomb blasts hit two northeastern cities that are included in the emergency declaration.

No casualties were reported after the bomb attacks in Maiduguri and Damaturu, claimed by the same purported spokesman for Boko Haram who issued the ultimatum to Christians.

Boko Haram whose name loosely translates to "Western education is sacrilege", has carried out a succession of recent attacks in the country, in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law across Nigeria, a multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people.

Fuel protests

Meanwhile, in Abuja on Friday, Nigerian police blocked protesters from marching to the capital's main parade ground as part of demonstrations over soaring fuel prices which have sparked nationwide outrage.

About 40 protesters sought to march to Eagle Square in the capital when police blocked the road and prevented them, an AFP correspondent reported.

On Thursday in the country’s northern city of Kano, at least 300 people were wounded and 19 arrested and later released as police fired tear gas and beat protesters to force them out of a square they had occupied in an overnight sit-in, an organiser said.

Nigeria has seen increasingly volatile demonstrations since the government announced the end of fuel subsidies on Sunday, causing petrol prices to instantly double in a country where most people live on less than $2 per day.

The Nigerian government held an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the second day of mass protests, after one person killed and more injured.

Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
join our mailing list