Boko Haram, an al Qaeda-linked Islamist terror group in Nigeria, attempted to bomb five Christian churches in Kaduna state today. The Guardian said that three of the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers, and that 12 people were killed in those attacks:
Three suicide bomb attacks on churches has rocked the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna, killing at least 12 people and wounding about 80, officials said, prompting protests in a province that has previously been strained by religious tensions.
The first two blasts occurred within minutes of each other and targeted two churches in the city of Zaria, said Kaduna state police chief Mohammed Abubakar Jinjiri. A third blast hit a church in the city of Kaduna about half an hour later.
The Zaria attacks killed the bomber and at least one other person and left 51 wounded, said Nigerian Red Cross official Andronicus Adeyemo. The Kaduna attack claimed 10 lives, he said, and wounded 29 people.
Jinjiri said security at the three churches prevented the suicide bombers from ramming explosive-laden cars into the buildings filled with worshippers.
“If not for security, there would have been more casualties,” Jinjiri said.
AFP reported that two more bombings took place in villages outside of Kaduna city:
Two more church bombings rocked Christian-dominated towns in Kaduna Sunday, bringing to five the number of explosions in the northern state, a local emergency official said.
“There were two simultaneous bomb attacks on churches in Nassarawa and Barnawa in the south of Kaduna this morning. We are yet to get information on casualities,” Kaduna spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Aliyu Mohammed told AFP.
Boko Haram has made it a habit of attacking churches on Sundays during services in order to kill as many Christians as possible. This is the third Sunday in a row in which Boko Haram suicide bombers have targeted churches; prior to today’s attacks, Boko Haram suicide bombers and gunmen attacked churches on June 10 and June 3.
So far this year, Boko Haram has carried out at least 12 suicide attacks [see list below]. The targets have included churches, newspapers, government officials, and security forces. The terror group also conducted several other suicide attacks in previous years; the most high-profile suicide attack targeted the United Nations headquarters in the Nigerian capital of Abuja in August 2011.
Boko Haram suicide attacks in 2012:
- June 17, 2012 – Boko Haram suicide bombers attacked three churches in Kaduna, killing at least 12 people.
- June 10, 2012 – A Boko Haram suicide bomber killed three people in an attack outside a church in Jos.
- June 8, 2012 – A Boko Haram suicide bomber killed four people an attack outside a police station in Maiduguri.
- June 3, 2012 – A Boko Haram suicide bomber killed 15 people an attack on a church in Bauchi.
- April 30, 2012 – A Boko Haram suicide bomber killed 11 people and wounded more than 20 in an attack on a police convoy in Jalingo, the capital of Taraba state.
- April 26, 2012 – The editor of ThisDay confirmed that a suicide bomber drove a jeep into the newspaper’s office in Abuja, killing two people.
- April 8, 2012 – Boko Haram killed 36 people and wounded dozens more in several bombings outside of a church in Kaduna on Easter day.
- March 11, 2012 – A Boko Haram suicide bomber killed three civilians in a bombing outside of a church in Jos. The suicide bomber was stopped before he could enter the compound.
- Feb. 26, 2012 – A Boko Haram suicide bomber killed six Christians during an attack at a church in Jos.
- Jan. 21, 2012 – Boko Haram killed more than 140 people during a series of blasts, including a suicide bombing, and shootings in Kano. Boko Haram claimed credit for the attacks, which targeted police and immigration buildings.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.