A purported spokesman for Islamist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the bombing of a church outside the capital Abuja and other violence that has stoked fear and anger in Africa’s most populous nation.
Nigeria’s national security adviser has blamed Boko Haram for the attacks, in which people were killed as they left church. Some were burnt in their cars.
The attacks were condemned by the Vatican, the White House and several western countries.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice and said that ‘‘Nigerians must stand as one to condemn them’’.
The attacks occurred despite claims of recent arrests of Boko Haram members. Nigeria is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and a Christian south.
In one of Sunday’s attacks, a suicide bomber tried to ram a military convoy in front of a secret-police building in the northeastern city of Damaturu. Three security agents and the bomber were killed.
The area around the St Theresa Catholic Church, in Madalla outside Abuja, degenerated into chaos after the blast, as angry youths started fires and threatened to rush a nearby police station.
Police shot into the air to disperse them and closed a highway.A Vatican spokesman labelled the Madalla bombing an act of ‘‘blind hatred’’.
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