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Dublin: 15°C Monday 23 May 2022

Bomb strikes Nigerian church during Christmas service

Local officials could not confirm how many people were injured, but said there were not enough ambulances to convey the wounded to hospital.

Image: Google Maps

A BOMB HAS exploded at a Catholic church close to the Nigerian capital Abuja this morning during a Christmas service.

Local police spokesman Richard Oguche said the explosion struck St Theresa Church in Madalla, near Abuja.

Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency told journalists that it did not immediately have enough ambulances for the wounded.

NEMA spokesperson Yushau Shuaib said that there were people inside the church when the bomb went off but said he could not talk about figures, Al Jazeera reports.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion has fallen on the radical Muslim group Boko Haram which has killed at least 465 people in a spate of attacks this year. Last year, the group killed at least 32 people in a number of Christmas Eve attacks in the city of Jos.

It claimed responsibility for an attack on the UN’s offices in Abuja earlier this year in which 23 people were killed.

Boko Haram is campaigning to implement Shariah Law in Nigeria, which is largely Christian in the north and Muslim in the south.

In light of recent attacks, the US embassy in Nigeria issued a warning to US citizens on Friday, urging them to take extra precautions over the holiday period and “to be particularly vigilant around churches and other places of worship, locations where large crowds may gather, and areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers during the upcoming holiday season”.

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The Irish government warns Irish citizens to “avoid non-essential travel to the capital Abuja and the surrounding Federal Capital Territory as there is a high threat of a terrorist attack.”

- Additional reporting by the AP

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