The death toll from a Christmas Day bomb attack on a church near the Nigerian capital Abuja rose to 26, the government said.
The number injured in the early morning attack couldn’t be ascertained because many were being taken “in and out of hospitals,” Yushau Shaibu, a spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, said by phone today.
The U.S. promised to help Nigeria find those responsible for at least three bombings yesterday.
“We have been in contact with Nigerian officials about what appear to be terrorist acts and pledge to assist them in bringing those responsible to justice,” according to a statement by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
Authorities in Africa’s top oil producer blame the Boko Haram Muslim sect for a surge of violence in the mainly Muslim north and Abuja in which hundreds of people have died this year. Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attacks, two of which targeted churches, according to newspaper reports. A year ago, the group said it was behind holiday bombings that killed more than 90 people.
The first explosion yesterday occurred as services were ending at St. Theresa’s Church near the capital. Another blast, at a church in the central city of Jos, capital of Plateau state, killed a policeman, said Pam Ayuba, a spokesman for the state government.
A suicide-bomber rammed a car into the entrance of the State Security Service building in the northeastern city of Damaturu, killing four people and the bomber, according to Victor Ebhaleme, a spokesman for the military task force in charge of security in the region.
Attacks by the group would have been worse during the holiday period had it not been for preemptive action by the security agencies, President Goodluck Jonathan’s security adviser said.
Source: Bloomberg | Vincent Nwanma and Gbenga Akingbule