Car bomb rammed into Church in Nigeria

November 2, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Soldiers stand guards outside St. Rita's Catholic church following a suicide bombing in Kaduna, Nigeria, October 28, 2012

Soldiers stand guards outside St. Rita's Catholic church following a suicide bombing in Kaduna, Nigeria, October 28, 2012

USA, October 31, 2012: International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that another church in Nigeria’s “Middle Belt” region has been attacked. At 9:00 am on Sunday, October 28, an SUV full of explosives rammed into the side of St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Kaduna and detonated its deadly payload. At least eight people, including the bomber, have been confirmed dead and over 100 have been reportedly injured. Christian youths were seen outside the church after the attack engaging in reprisal attacks increasing the number of casualties.

Just as Rev. Father Bonni Bazah was about to commence the Holy Communion at St. Rita’s Catholic Church, an SUV rammed through one of the walls of the church. “I heard a loud bang on the wall. Suddenly, I saw the wall caving in towards us. Then I saw an SUV and was about to shout for every [one] to run away when I hear the loudest explosion I have ever heard. Immediately I saw my body covered with blood and bodies were strewn around. After that I lost consciousness,” said Rev. Father Bazah from his hospital bed in Kaduna.

The total number of dead is still unconfirmed, but at least eight, including the suicide bomber, have been confirmed dead; as many as 145 have been reportedly injured.

The suicide bomber was reportedly stopped at the church compound’s gate when he rammed through the gate and into the side of the church. “All of the sudden [the SUV] drove [at a] high speed and rammed into the church wall, forcing its way into the church premises,” said witness Samuel Emmanuel. “Initially I thought the driver had lost control of the vehicle, [but] suddenly there was a huge explosion as the vehicle reached the church building.”

The city of Kaduna is located in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region where the predominantly Christian south boarders the predominantly Muslim north. The city of Kaduna is no stranger to religious violence as it has been victim to a wave of deadly attacks against churches perpetrated by the extremist organization Boko Haram.

Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group, is seeking to carve out an independent Islamic state in northern Nigeria and is responsible for 2,800 deaths since 2009. In recent months, the group started to specifically target Christian churches in an attempt to drive all non-Muslims out of the north.

Boko Haram has not claimed responsibility for this most recent attack, but there were rumors that Boko Haram might plan an attack during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, which ended this past Friday. In the past, Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for other attacks on churches, including three suicide bombings in June that killed dozens of people.

Religious leaders in Nigeria are calling for the nation to unite after the latest attack on a church this weekend. Eight people died in the blast at a Catholic church in Kaduna state on Sunday when a suicide bomber driving a truck packed with explosives rammed into St. Rita’s Catholic Church during services. In June, three other churches in the same area were simultaneously hit by suicide bombers. In earlier months, there were attacks on churches in five other states.

Rev. Barje Maigadi, who leads the 5,000 member Evangelical Church Winning All told Al Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege, “What is happening is not actually intimidating Christians.” He says that in the “midst of persecution, the fifth of believers are raised up. For us as Christians, we have a cardinal principle, and that is the love of God given toward the enemy.” Others says that churches in the north have seen a dramatic decrease in attendance because of fears of violence.  Church security measures have had to be increased.

– icc

Kaduna church bombing fundamentally criminal – clerics

Kaduna church bombing fundamentally criminal - Clerics Nigeria, October 31, 2012 – Conveners and members of Inter-faith Activities and Partners for Peace (IFAPP), a newly established NGO, on Tuesday said the Sunday bombing of a church in Kaduna was a fundamentally criminal act.

IFAPP is a national platform for interfaith dialogue among Muslim and Christian clerics and leaders for the fostering of peaceful coexistence and development in Nigeria.

Their position was contained in a statement jointly signed by Rev. Fr. George Ehusani and Malam Nurudeen Lemu and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

“We are extremely saddened by and wholeheartedly condemn the recent suicide bombing of St. Rita’s Catholic Church, Ungwan Yero in Kaduna State by yet-to-be identified person(s).

“The overwhelming majority of Muslims in Nigeria are peace-loving and believe in the sacredness of places of worship and the inherent dignity, equality and inviolability of all human beings.

“The suicide bombing of St. Rita’s Catholic Church was, therefore, fundamentally a criminal act by law-breakers, who should be speedily apprehended and made to face the full weight of the law,” the statement said.

The clerics appealed to Christians in Ungwan Yero and beyond not to view the act as an attack on Christians by Muslims.

According to them, any retaliatory action will only play into the hands of the misguided few, who are bent on fanning inter-religious conflict and violence.

“We commend the efforts of a number of Muslim leaders in Kaduna State to support their Christian counterparts in providing succour care and assistance to the victims of the bomb blast,” the clerics said.

They urged the public to regard the tragedy as an opportunity for strengthening inter-faith dialogue for peace, mutual respect and understanding, justice and community development.

Ehusani, who is of the Lux Terra Leadership Foundation and Lemu of the Islamic Education Trust, both of FCT, pledged to continue to work for peaceful coexistence of religious groups in Nigeria.

NAN recalls that St. Rita’s Catholic Church, Ungwan Yero Malali in Kaduna, was attacked on Oct. 27 during mass, leaving some people dead and many injured.

– nan

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