At least 36 people have died and several wounded in a car bomb attack outside a church in Kaduna on Easter Sunday. The explosion involved at least a car driven by a suicide bomber. Officials are uncertain whether other cars were involved in the attack.
According to This Day Live, the incident occurred at Junction Road by Sardauna Crescent in Kaduna township at about 9:10 a.m. while Christians were attending Easter Sunday church service. Naija Pundit reports the explosion occurred near two prominent ECWA churches in Gwari Road and the Assemblies of God Church, with bodies of victims, some blown to pieces, littering the streets after the explosion.
Vanguard reports that earlier on Sunday, a rescue official, said: “Now we have 20 dead from the twin explosions. [The] Bombs concealed in two cars went off just opposite this church." Rescue workers said on Sunday morning they were still counting the number of the dead.
This Day Live reports that Mallam Abubakr Zakari Adamu, the Public Relations Officer of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), confirmed later in the day that the death toll had reached 36, while 13 other persons were still in critical condition. 20 people died at the scene of the incident while the others died in hospital.
Vanguard reports that a police officer said a suicide bomber attempting to drive into the premises of one of the churches stopped at the barrier of a checkpoint and turned back. He drove the car to a place close to the Assemblies of God Church building and detonated the bomb. The blast damaged two church buildings.
The New York Times reports a pastor at one of the churches, Joshua Raji, said:“We were in the holy communion service and I was exhorting my people, and all of a sudden we heard a loud noise that shattered all our windows and doors, destroyed our fans and some of our equipment in the church."
The New York Times reports the explosion was close to popular local restaurants where many people gather to eat and buy black market gasoline. According to a spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), most of the victims were commercial motorcycle riders who were in the area when the bomb went off. Vanguard reports police confirmed it was a bomb attack but gave no further details.
Police spokesman Aminu Lawal, said: “We have a bomb explosion. We are trying to sort things out."
Residents say they saw the police taking away dead bodies and injured persons. An eyewitness reported seeing 10 bodies. Another counted at least 10 wounded persons.
According to a resident: "From my balcony, I could see policemen loading the dead and the injured into waiting vans.” The injured persons, according to This Day Live, were rushed to St. Gerald Catholic Hospital, Rakiya Memorial Hospital, Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital and 44 Army referral Hospital, all in the state capital.
A person living in a house close to the scene of the explosion said the explosion was so strong that it shook his house and caused the ceiling to cave in. The resident said that the building of the Assemblies of God Church and cars were damaged.
Nigerian authorities and foreign embassies had warned of the possibility of attacks over the Easter holiday. This Day Live reports that last Friday, both the US and the UK issued travel alerts to their nationals in the country, warning them of likelihood of bomb attacks in a number of states during the Easter holiday.