Deadly blast hits Nigeria church

  • 3 June 2012
  • From the section Africa

A suicide bomber has killed himself and at least nine other people near a church in the northern Nigerian city of Bauchi, police have told the BBC.

They say the man drove a car full with explosives towards the church. About 30 people were wounded in the blast.

No group has claimed the bombing, but it comes amid a wave of violence by the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram.

The group has carried out numerous attacks in northern Nigeria, killing hundreds of people since 2009.

According to Bauchi residents, a man tried to drive a car through a fence outside the Harvest Field Pentecostal church on Sunday.

The vehicle did not break through the fence and the bomb was detonated. Some of those killed by the blast were inside the church and others were standing outside.

Eyewitness Aliku Jon told Reuters news agency: "I had just left after the morning service and was out of the church when I heard a loud explosion. I rushed back and there were dozens of people lying in pools of blood."

Some residents told Reuters they had counted 12 bodies, but police put the death toll at 10.

Boko Haram - whose name means "No to Western education" - has its stronghold in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri and wants to impose Sharia law across Nigeria.

It has targeted churches as well as schools, police stations, and other government buildings.