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Suicide bomber strikes Nigerian church during service; three killed

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Suicide bomber strikes Nigerian church during service; three killed

Country/Region: Africa, Nigeria

A suicide bomber forced his way into the grounds of a major Nigerian church, killing three people plus himself during a service on Sunday morning.

He drove a Volkswagen Audi car packed with explosives into the compound of the Church of Christ (COCIN) headquarters in Jos at 7.20am on Sunday 26 February. The vehicle sped past a security checkpoint and exploded three metres from the church building.

Church-of-Christ-in-Nigeria_Attacks_4X3.jpg
People survey the damage
at the church compound
Image source: Stefanos foundation

Two women and an 18-month-old child were killed, and around 50 people were injured in the blast. One of the women had recently fled the anti-Christian violence in Yobe state.

The church and surrounding buildings were damaged, and the windows of around 30 cars parked in the compound were shattered.

The attack took place about 15 minutes into the first of the three services of the day. Around 3,000 worshippers attend services at the Church of Christ headquarters.

One church member, who was planning to attend the second service, said: “It makes me feel tense… we don’t know to which extent this will go until it is controlled.”

Militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which has been behind numerous attacks on Christians in Nigeria, has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Prior to the incident, a list of potential Boko Haram targets in Jos, which included the COCIN headquarters, had reportedly been found.

Elderly Christian’s throat slit

Elsewhere in Nigeria, an elderly Christian woman was murdered, with a threatening note – believed to be directed at her son, a pastor – left on her chest.

Shetu Haruna Malgwi (79) was attacked in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri on Wednesday 22 February. The assailants slit her throat, then wrote a note in Arabic with red pen that said, “We will get you soon,” and placed it on her chest. A Bible had been left under the church choir member’s feet.

Boko Haram has been blamed for Mrs Malgwi’s murder.

Church bomb blast

On the previous Sunday, 19 February, five people were wounded when a bomb planted near an abandoned car exploded outside a church in Suleja, near the capital Abuja, during a service.

Security guards at the church had noticed something suspicious by the car before the service began and had prompted the pastor to get everyone inside.

Boko Haram is suspected of being behind the bombing. The group, which wants to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria, issued on New Year’s Day a three day ultimatum for Christians to leave the North.

Since that deadline expired, numerous churches have been targeted and many Christians have been shot dead.

Boko Haram has also struck at the security forces and at mosques deemed “insufficiently Islamic”. The group is believed to have killed over 300 people so far this year.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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  • Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi’s final appeal hearing is scheduled to take place tomorrow (14 April) having been deferred twice. She was sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010 having been falsely accused of insulting Muhammad following an argument with Muslim co-workers. Aasia has been languishing in jail since the accusation was made in June 2009. Pray that her appeal will finally go ahead and that the judges will have the courage to acquit and release Aasia; there are concerns that they may give in to pressure from hardline Islamists who have been calling for her execution. Pray that Aasia, her husband and children will know the Lord’s peace as they await the verdict. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

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