A suicide bomber has blown himself up outside an evangelist church in northeast Nigeria, injuring several people, witnesses and a rescue worker said.

"There was an explosion outside the ECWA church this morning. A suicide bomber who was restrained from getting into the church blew himself up," said Abubakar Yakubu, who heads the Nigeria Red Cross in Gombe.

"Luckily no one was killed but some people were mildly injured."

A witness said the man arrived during the church service and refused to park his motorcycle outside a security barrier set up by church volunteers.

"He insisted on riding through the barrier," said Dahiru Badamasi.

"It was while he was arguing with the volunteers that his suicide belt exploded."
Another witness heard an explosion and rushed outside.

Northeast Nigeria has seen a relentless string of attacks blamed on Boko Haram, which is increasingly using female suicide bombers.

Gombe, capital of the eponymous state, has until recently been spared the violence that has shaken the neighbouring states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa, where Boko Haram has taken around 20 towns.

But attacks have increased in recent weeks.

A female suicide bomber was killed as she tried to enter a military barracks in Gombe on Wednesday.

Seven others died in a bus explosion Wednesday in a village close to Potiskum, in Yobe state.

Experts have cast doubt on Nigeria's ability to hold planned national elections in February due to rising unrest in parts of the northeast.

Source: Agencies