News

Easter Bomber Strikes in Northern Nigeria

Security personnel inspect the mangled remains of bomb-laden car that exploded along junction road near a church, Kaduna, Nigeria, April 8, 2012.
Security personnel inspect the mangled remains of bomb-laden car that exploded along junction road near a church, Kaduna, Nigeria, April 8, 2012.
Anne Look

A bombing in northern Nigeria killed at least 20 people and wounded several others on Easter Sunday despite ramped-up security throughout the region.  No one immediately claimed responsibility, though many suspect the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which is known to target Christians around holidays.  

Police say a car laden with explosives blew up on a main city street in the northern city of Kaduna Sunday at 8:45 a.m. local time.

Witnesses said the explosion primarily hit motorcycle taxi drivers, panhandlers and women preparing street food.

Some suspect the intended target was a nearby Christian church.

Kaduna police spokesman Aminu Lawal told VOA that police are still investigating where the bomber was headed.

"The church also is situated by the roadside and it is not far from the roundabout so maybe he wanted to pass through there but when he discovered the security men were at alert then he could not be able to approach that particular area," said Lawal.

The leader of a Christian interfaith association in Kaduna, David Obadiah, arrived at the scene just after the blast.

He said emergency workers were rushing more than a dozen critically wounded people from the scene and the street was littered with burned-out motorcycles and what was left of the bomber's vehicle.

"Honestly one cannot say precisely that the target is a Christian church but today is Easter Sunday and at the time that the bomb was detonated, accidentally or whatever, it was during church services because people are about going to church and some were in the church already," said Obadiah.

He said he was worried that jumping to conclusions would lead to widespread panic.

Security was ramped up throughout northern Nigeria for Easter weekend after security forces said they thwarted several plots to attack Christians.

The extremist group Boko Haram is known to target Christians during holidays.

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for Christmas Eve bombings in 2010 and Christmas Day attacks in 2011 that each killed dozens of people in northern Nigeria.

Security forces in the sect's northeastern base, Maiduguri, said they raided a militant hideout Sunday, killing three suspected Boko Haram members, arresting two others and recovering guns and ammunition. Authorities said the suspects were behind last week's attack on Christian traders in a city market that killed 11 people.

The Joint Task Force in Maiduguri also said it had discovered and disposed of an improvised explosive device planted in a city neighborhood Sunday afternoon.  

Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram has killed more than 1,000 people since its resurgence in 2010.

Celebrating Easter Mass in Rome, Pope Benedict denounced what he called "savage terrorist attacks" in Nigeria.

Pope Benedict said he hopes the joy of Easter may grant Nigeria the strength needed to take up anew the building of a society which is peaceful and respectful of the religious freedom of its citizens.

The Nigerian government has struggled to contain the growing security threat as factions of varying extremism have split off from the core Boko Haram cell.

Boko Haram's name in the Hausa language means "Western education is sacrilege." The group wants to impose Islamic law in northern Nigeria.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs