Security forces mounted a fierce presence in Madalla,near the federal capital Abuja, where publc anger surged over the deadly christmas day bombing that killed at least 16 people with many more injured.
Heavily armed soldiers and anti riot police blocked entrance and exit ways into the commercial town with several checkpoints,significantly scaling down movements to, and from the community,40kilometers from Abuja city center.
Residents spoke of an anger that has deepened with a recollection of events at St. Theresa’s Catholic church few minutes before 8am as the church ended its firts service.
A black Toyota had driven close to the church, and while be cleared for parking, it exploded, according to multiple reports.
The bomb,powerful enough to leave a gaping crater just outside the church,with many nearby houses affected,killed at least 25, including a pregnant woman,witnesses said.
For the most part of Sunday,condemnations for the attacks grew, as did the call for justice.
In Madalla, a dreary dusty town known for its weekend market, but now increasingly becoming notorious for deadly bomb attacks, residents calmly, and openly called for reprisals.
“If we don’t do something, these people will not take us serious,” one said.
An early morning protest organized soon after the bombings, was broke up by the police and elders of the town, who pleaded for calm, witnesses say.
The Islamic group,Boko Haram, has claimed responsibilities for the attacks.
Coming amid continued clashes between security forces and the insurgents in Yobe state,the killings stood out as one of the deadliest to hit the federal capital.
“I was holding a jerry can far away from the church but it flew out of my hand,” a resident said.
The church’s presiding Reverend Father Raphael Achi, said many of the victims were likely people who planned to leave the mass early to travel for the christmas celebrations.
“They ended up meeting the end of their lives at the entrance,” he said, at the church premises littered with blood stains,splinters of human flesh and burnt cars.
Angry residents massed around a tight cordon set up by soldiers and police around the scene, chanting songs.
The military deployment to the town continued for the most part of day, amid fears of reprisals.