25 dead in Christmas eve church bombings by Muslims in Nigeria
Islamic terrorists are claiming responsibility for a pair of church bombings in Nigeria that claimed 25 lives and injured dozens more.
The Christmas Day attacks show the growing national ambition of the sect known as Boko Haram, which is responsible for at least 491 killings this year alone, according to an Associated Press count. The assaults come a year after a series of Christmas Eve bombings in Jos claimed by the militants left at least 32 dead and 74 wounded.
The first explosion on Sunday struck St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, a town in Niger state close to the capital, Abuja, authorities said. Rescue workers recovered at least 25 bodies from the church and officials continued to tally those wounded in various hospitals, said Slaku Luguard, a coordinator with Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency.
His agency already has acknowledged it didn't have enough ambulances immediately on hand to help the wounded. Mr. Luguard also said an angry crowd that gathered at the blast site hampered rescue efforts as they refused to allow workers inside.
"We're trying to calm the situation," Mr. Luguard said. "There are some angry people around trying to cause problems."
In Jos, a second explosion struck near a Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church, government spokesman Pam Ayuba said. Ayuba said gunmen later opened fire on police guarding the area, killing one police officer. Two other locally made explosives were found in a nearby building and disarmed, he said.
"The military are here on ground and have taken control over the entire place," Mr. Ayuba said.
Boko Haram has been responsible for almost 500 deaths over the last year, mostly targeting police but also Christians.
What should cause us increasing concern is that the group has splintered with one particularly violent faction linking up with other terror groups in Africa:
Boko Haram has splintered into three factions, with one wing increasingly willing to kill as it maintains contact with terror groups in North Africa and Somalia, diplomats and security sources say.
Some al-Qaeda affiliates are seeking to expand their operations to the west. Boko Haram certainly bears watching as the threats from Africa become more serious.