A suicide bomber has driven a vehicle packed with explosives into a Catholic church in northern Nigeria, killing at least eight people and wounding more than 100, triggering reprisal attacks that have killed at least two more, according to officials.
The attack happened in the Malali neighbourhood of Kaduna, a city on the dividing line between Nigeria’s largely Christian south and mainly Muslim north, where religious rioting has killed hundreds in recent years.
The car tried to force its way past the gate at St Rita’s Catholic church just before it exploded, witnesses at the church said.
Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman for Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency, said ambulances were taking the injured to hospital.
He said it was not immediately clear how many had been injured.
Al Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege, reporting from Nigeria said: ” We know there is a rescue mission taking place with ambulances taking people to hospital.”
– Al Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege on Nigeria church bombings
“No claims of responsibility has taken place, we are waiting for the police and military to comment on their take, however many would feel that Boko Haram are behind the attack.
Armed with knives
Following the blast, soldiers and police surrounded the church in Kaduna, a city which has seen several other attacks on churches in recent months.
Shortly after the blast, angry Christian youths took to the streets armed with sticks and knives.
“We killed them and we’ll do more,” shouted a youth, with blood on his shirt, before police chased him and his cohorts away.
Daniel Kazah, a member of the Catholic cadets in the church, said he had seen three bodies on the bloodied church floor after the bomb. “But still others were taken to the mortuary,” he said.
A Reuters news agency reporter also saw two bodies lying at the roadside.
An emergency worker on the scene, who had helped move casualties but was not authorised to give his name, estimated the total number of dead and wounded at around 30.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s blast.
In June the armed group Boko Haram attacked three churches in the state of Kaduna, including one in the city. At least 50 people were killed in the bombings and the reprisals that followed.