Easter Sunday Suicide Bombing Kills 38 in Nigeria

Islamist group Boko Haram is suspected of organizing the attack.

Posted: 04/09/2012 11:18 AM EDT

At least 38 people were killed and many others injured in the Nigerian city of Kaduna Sunday when a suicide car bomber set off his explosives on a busy road.


The blast occurred as the car was being stopped at a checkpoint as it headed for a nearby church compound.


"A suicide bomber in a vehicle was moving towards the ECWA Church and the All Nations Christian Assembly," Tony Udo, a Kaduna resident, told Reuters. "Security agents accosted and repelled him. While he was driving away, the bomb went off at Junction Road, near the Stadium roundabout, killing the bomber and some commercial motorcyclists," he added.


Although no one has yet to come forward to accept responsibility for the attack, many are already pointing fingers at Islamist group Boko Haram, who have been responsible for a litany of attacks in the country and hundreds of thousands of deaths. Reports say that the group previously warned of attacks on Easter Sunday.


In addition to deaths and injuries, the blast damaged nearby buildings and disrupted Easter service at the local church, which may have been targeted.


"We were in the holy communion service and I was exhorting my people and all of a sudden, we heard a loud noise that shattered all our windows and doors, destroyed our fans and some of our equipment in the church," Pastor Joshua Raji told the Associated Press.


In Pope Benedict XVI’s Easter speech at the Vatican, he mentioned the ongoing violence in Nigeria.


"To Nigeria, which in recent times has experienced savage terrorist attacks, may the joy of Easter grant the strength needed to take up anew the building of a society which is peaceful and respectful of the religious freedom of its citizens," he said.


Kaduna, the site of the blast, lies on the dividing line between the country's mostly Christian south and Muslim north. The region has been the scene of ethnic and religious tensions in the past, including the April 2011 post-presidential election violence that pitted supporters of Muslim former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari against those of victor Goodluck Johnathan and left more than 800 dead.


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(Photo: EPA/STR/Landov)