News / Africa

Suicide Attack on Nigerian Church Raises Fears of Sectarian Violence

A view of St. Rita's Catholic church in Kaduna, Nigeria, after a bomb attack October 28, 2012.
A view of St. Rita's Catholic church in Kaduna, Nigeria, after a bomb attack October 28, 2012.
Heather Murdock
Nigerian authorities say eight people were killed and 100 more injured when a suicide bomber attacked a Catholic church during morning services, raising fears of renewed sectarian violence in the volatile city of Kaduna.

About 20 minutes after the bombing a woman weeps outside the partially destroyed church.

“I am feeling bad already,” she said.
 
While police try to clear the area, she says she lost brothers and sisters in the morning attack.  
 
Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency spokesman Yushau Shuaib said a suicide bomber rammed his car into the barriers surrounding the church.
 
The rescue operation was initially delayed, he added, as angry residents attacked emergency vehicles and fights were reported between Christians and Muslims. He said the city is now calm and heavily secured.

A VOA reporter at the scene said after the attack Christian and Muslim youth took to the streets in the surrounding area, guarding their neighborhoods. He says now residents are mostly at home, scared.    

Boko Haram Facts

  • Based in the northeastern city of Maiduguri
  • Began in 2002 as a non-violent Islamist splinter group
  • Launched uprising in 2009; leader was subsequently killed in police custody
  • Has killed hundreds in bombings and shootings since 2010
  • Boko Haram translates to "Western education is sinful"
  • Wants Nigeria to adopt strict Islamic law
  • Says it will kidnap women and children as part of its campaign
  • Has taken over parts of northeastern Nigeria
The chairman of the Kaduna State chapter of the Youth Christian Association of Nigeria, Diji Haruna, says he was two kilometers away when the bomb exploded. He rushed to the scene where he saw three other buildings damaged by the force of the blast.  
 
Haruna says the attack also damaged efforts to end sectarian violence in Kaduna, a city in Nigeria’s “Middle Belt,” that is divided like the rest of the country, with mostly Muslims in the north and mostly Christians in the south. 
“What happened in the church today is amazing, after all the efforts to see how Kaduna can live in peace,"  he said. "As far as we are concerned this is a terrible situation.  This is a step 10-times backwards for Kaduna State.”
 
Human Rights Watch says sectarian violence has claimed thousands of lives in Nigeria in the past decade.  After a Kaduna church bombing in June, nearly 100 people were killed in clashes between Muslims and Christians.
 
No one has claimed responsibility for the latest bombing, but it is similar to others attributed to an Islamist militant group known as Boko Haram, which says it wants jailed members freed and the implementation of Islamic law.
 
Boko Haram has been blamed for 1,400 deaths in the past three years.  The group claims attacks on churches, security forces, government buildings, schools, communications networks, newspapers, and the local U.N. headquarters. 

Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid