Nigeria: Suicide bomber rams into church, 8 killed – Boko Haram suspected
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the attack.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes as the Muslims in the nation are celebrating the end of Eid al-Adha holiday in Nigeria.
In recent days, rumors have circulated that the radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram, which is blamed for hundreds of killings this year alone, might try to launch an attack during the holiday. The sect has demanded the release of all its captive members and has called for strict Sharia law to be implemented across the entire country.
However, the group, which speaks to journalists in telephone conference calls at times of its choosing, could not be immediately reached for comment.
The Boko Haram sect has used suicide car bombs against churches in the past, most noticeably a 2011 Christmas Day attack on a Catholic church in Madalla near Nigeria’s capital. That attack and assaults elsewhere in the country killed at least 44 people. An unclaimed car bombing on Easter in Kaduna killed at least 38 people on a busy roadway after witnesses say it was turned away from a church.
Christians and Muslims largely live in peace, work together and inter-marry in Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people. However, Kaduna, a major city of Nigeria’s north that has a large Christian population, has seen hundreds killed in recent years in religious and ethnic violence.
More than 2,000 died in Kaduna state as the state government moved to enact Islamic Shariah law in 2000. In 2002, rioting over a newspaper article suggesting the Prophet Muhammad would have married a Miss World pageant contestant killed dozens in Kaduna.