Bomber kills 10 in Nigeria church attack

A suicide car bomber attacked a Catholic church on Sunday in the middle of Mass, killing at least 10 people in the latest violence targeting a church in a central Nigerian city plagued by unrest, a state official said.

The bomb detonated as worshippers attended the final Mass of the day at St Finbar’s Catholic Church in Jos, a city where thousands have died in the last decade in religious and ethnic violence. Security at the gate of the church’s compound stopped the suspicious car and the bomber detonated his explosives during an altercation that followed, Plateau state spokesman Pam Ayuba said.

The blast damaged the church’s roof, blew out its windows and destroyed a portion of the fence surrounding the church’s compound, Ayuba said. At least 10 people died, Ayuba said, while many others were wounded in the blast, including soldiers who also had been stationed at the church.

No group immediately claimed responsibility though the city has been targeted in the past by a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram. The sect claimed a series of bombings in Jos on Christmas Eve in 2010 that killed as many as 80 people. The sect also claimed a similar church bombing on February 26 on the main headquarters of the Church of Christ that killed three people and wounded 38 others.

Jos and surrounding Plateau state have been torn apart in recent years by violence pitting its different ethnic groups and major religions — Christianity and Islam — against each other. Human Rights Watch says at least 1,000 people were killed in communal clashes around Jos in 2010.

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