|Car bomb explodes outside Nigerian church; 10 die in blast, violence|
Catholic News Service photo
A victim of a bomb blast at U.N. offices in the Nigerian capital of Abuja is loaded into an ambulance, Aug. 26 after a car rammed into the building. A recent bombing was at a Catholic Church in Jos.
Catholic News Service
JOS, Nigeria — A suicide car bomber attacked a Catholic Church as Mass was being celebrated, killing three people and sending dozens of worshippers fleeing into the streets, officials said.
Seven others died in retaliatory rioting that erupted March 11 in the central Nigeria city of Jos, authorities reported.
On Sunday evening, gunmen killed three Christians in a village south of the city, said Pam Ayuba, Plateau state spokesman. She said officials did not believe the shootings were connected to the violence at St. Finbar Church earlier in the day.
The incidents are the most recent in a decade-long conflict among Christians and Muslims that has claimed thousands of lives in and around Jos.
Ayuba said the blast damaged the church's roof, blew out its windows and destroyed a portion of the fence surrounding the church's compound, the Associated Press reported.
The bombing led to retaliatory violence by youths who set fire to homes. Soldiers guarding the city opened fire in neighborhoods, witnesses said.
Government and relief officials told AFP that in addition to those killed in the bombing and afterward, 24 people were injured, including several soldiers. Several of the victims were critically injured, authorities said.
Witnesses said the speeding car was aimed at the church before the driver set off an explosion.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing. Various sites in Jos have been targeted by Boko Haram, which the Nigerian government considers an extremist Islamist sect. The loosely connected organization has claimed credit for a series of bombings on Christmas Eve 2010 that killed as many as 80 people and a similar church bombing Feb. 26 on the headquarters of the Church of Christ that claimed three lives and wounded 38 others.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the bombing and reaffirmed the government's determination "to end the space of mindless attacks and killings."
Jos remained tense March 12 as businesses and shops reopened. People said they feared a repeat of deadly riots that followed the Feb. 26 attack.