UPDATE 1-Nigerian Christmas bomb death toll rises to 37

Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:01pm GMT
 

* Boko Haram is Nigeria's top security headache

* Church bombs may be aimed at igniting sectarian conflict

* President Jonathan pledges to fight group (Adds Jonathan statement, violence in Maiduguri)

ABUJA, Dec 30 (Reuters) - The death toll from a bomb attack on a church just outside Nigeria's capital Abuja on Christmas Day has risen to 37, with 57 people wounded, a source at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said on Friday.

The bombing at St. Theresa's Catholic church in Madalla on Abuja's outskirts during a packed Christmas mass was the deadliest of a series of Christmas attacks on Nigerian churches and other targets by the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram.

"As of just now, the latest death toll from the bombing of St. Theresa's church is at 37. Wounded, we have 57," a senior NEMA official said. The initial death toll had been 27.

The official asked not to be identified because the victims were now in the hands of hospitals and morgues.

President Goodluck Jonathan's office put out a statement late on Friday pledging that "the government will fight Boko Haram, the group of evil-minded people who want to cause anarchy, to the end".

Jonathan held talks on Friday with Mohame Bazoum, Deputy Prime Minister of Niger. Security officials suspect the countries' porous common border is a gathering point for militants, and that Boko Haram may have made contact there with al Qaeda's north African wing.   Continued...

 
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