Reprisals kill 10 after church bombed in Nigeria's Jos

Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:53pm GMT

By Buhari Bello

JOS, Nigeria (Reuters) - Christian youths killed at least 10 people in reprisal attacks after a suspected suicide bomber hit a Catholic church in the central Nigerian city of Jos on Sunday, killing three people, authorities said.

"The situation is bad," health commissioner for Jos Sati Dakwat told Reuters. "Several were killed in the reprisal attacks, more than 10."

A Reuters reporter at the scene of the church bombing was unable to gain access, as the police had cordoned off the area around Finber's Catholic Church in the Rayfield suburb of Jos.

"We haven't got actual figures of injured yet, but at least three people have been confirmed dead by our men attending the scene of the blast," the Jos coordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Al Hassan Aliyu said.

Earlier NEMA called it a suspected suicide bombing, but Aliyu said this was not yet confirmed.

Islamist sect Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a wave of bomb attacks on churches across Nigeria since Christmas Day. The bombing campaign has raised fears that the group is trying to ignite sectarian conflict in Africa's most populous country, split roughly evenly between Christians and Muslims.

In the past decade Jos has become the main flashpoint for tensions between Nigeria's Christian and Muslim communities. Bombers have targeted its churches many times since Christmas.

A Reuters witness watched angry Christians set up road blocks near the church. In the past, such a move has preceded retaliatory violence against Muslims.   Continued...

Security forces at the scene of a bomb explosion at St. Theresa Catholic Church at Madalla, Suleja, just outside Nigeria's capital Abuja, December 25, 2011. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
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