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Confusion over deaths in reprisals in Jos

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  • . . . As suicide bombers kill 3 in Catholic Church

From Nankpah Bwakan & Bayo Alabira, Jos, with agency reports

Christian youths allegedly killed at least 10 people in reprisal attacks after a suspected suicide bomber hit a Catholic church in Jos, the Plateau state capital yesterday, killing three people, authorities said.


“The situation is bad,” Plateau state health commissioner, Sati Dakwat told Reuters. “Several were killed in the reprisal attacks, more than 10.”

But the commissioner, in an interview with Channels TV last night claimed he neither spoke to any newsman prior to the TV station’s chat with him, nor disclosed any casualty figure in the reprisals.

A Reuters witness however said he watched angry Christians set up road blocks near the church. Other witnesses told Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC’s) correspondent in Jos that the Christian youths attacked and set ablaze a mansion, and a shop in Mai Adiko area of the city.

A Reuters reporter at the scene of the church bombing said he was unable to gain access, as the police had cordoned off the area around Finbarr’s Catholic Church in the Rayfield suburb of Jos.

“We haven’t got actual figures of injured yet, but at least three people have been confirmed dead by our men attending the scene of the blast,” the Jos coordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Al Hassan Aliyu

However, one of our correspondents reported that four suicide bombers wanted to force their way into the premises of St. Finbarrs Catholic Church, but detonated the bomb after a struggle between them and boys scout keeping watch at the church, leading to the death of seven parishioners.

The suicide bombers were said to have been mangled beyond recognition while about 20 casualties are currently hospitalized in Jos University Teaching Hospital, JUTH, the Plateau Specialist Hospital, Jos, the Air Force Hospital, and other medical centres, all in the city.

But NEMA officials confirmed that only three persons died in the explosion.

Yesterday’s blast occurred at about 10:10am, when parishioners were in their third Mass. The suicide bombers allegedly used a Vectra car which blasted at the gate of the church as Boys Scouts refused them entry.

The incident caused a stampede around the church and its environs resulting in  reprisal attacks in places like Abattoir, Rayfield, and Mai Adiko, where about five Okada riders were allegedly killed, besides two that were said to have been mobbed to death around St. Finbarr’s church.

Our correspondents in Jos observed that the members of the Special Task Force, STF, cordoned the church area, which ran through the GRA leading to the seat of government in the state.

Reacting to the blast, the Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, who appealed for calm, expressed sadness over the incident, describing the act as evil and criminal, saying such would not deter Christians from worshipping.

The STF spokesman, Captain Mdahyelya Markus could not be reached for comments as his cell phone was not reachable.

Meanwhile, Governor Jonah Jang on Plateau state visited the scene of the blast as well as the various hospitals yesterday, and called for calm saying that the security challenges in the state and the country would end.

He said that the attack happened 10 minutes into the 10.00 a.m. mass.

“I was at the altar when I heard a loud explosion. Suddenly things were falling all over, and there was pandemonium in the church,” the priest said.”Some members grabbed me and rescued me to a safe place. I later learned that it was a suicide attack and that the bomber tried to enter through the gate, but was prevented. That was when the bombers rammed their car into the fence wall and exploded the device, killing the Scout boy,’’ the Parish priest of the church, Reverend Father Peter Umoren told newsmen after the incident.

No group claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack on the Catholic Church in Jos, up to press time last night.

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Daniel fadip, March 12, 2012
Nigeria contain two major religion, the only place to kill only christian is in the church. But yet is not a good decision for them, because 3 die in the blast & more than ten die on the street as a result. So look for another method.

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