Several people are feared dead as three separate bomb explosions hit three churches simultaneously in Zaria, Kaduna State, on Sunday morning.
The explosions occurred at ECWA Church, Wusasa, and CKC Church at Yoruba Road, Sabon-Gari, Zaria.
A witness at CKC Church, Malam Bala Mati, said that the suspected suicide bombers rammed into the church premises in a `Golf IV’’ vehicle, defying orders by security officials at the gate to stop for a check.
He said that he saw about 13 bodies after the explosion.
At Wusasa, another eyewitness, Mr Johnson Maki, told NAN that the bombers came in a Honda Accord (2008 model), hitting the security posts and knocking down the part of the church building.
Mr Lawal Umar, the Divisional Secretary of the Red Cross in Zaria, said that not less than 30 persons sustained varying degree of injuries in the suicide attack.
He said that nine injured persons were taken to St. Lukes Hospital, Wusasa, for treatment, while nine others were ferried to Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in the Shika neighbourhood of Zaria.
Also speaking, Alhaji Umar Ibrahim-Rabagaddama, the Chairman, Interim Management Committee of Zaria Local Government Council, told NAN that one person died in the Wusasa explosion, while 45 people sustained injuries.
He, however, appealed to the people to remain calm and avoid spreading unnecessary rumours about the incident.
DSP Aminu Lawan, the Police Public Relations Officer in the Kaduna State Command, also confirmed the explosions, saying that policemen had been deployed to the areas.
Lawan, however, appealed to the general public to be security conscious while going about their normal activities, assuring them that essential security measures were being put in place.
Read our earlier posts and updates below
UPDATE 6: Kaduna State Government slams 24-hour curfew on city as irate Christian youth launch reprisal attack against Muslims. Some Muslims are reported killed in the attacks.
UPDATE 5: As a result of this morning’s explosion at Shalom Church Tirkania, Christian youth in the area barricaded the Kaduna/ Abuja expressway threatening reprisal attacks.
However, Police spokesman Aminu Lawan said officers have been dispatched to the area and they have succeeded in restoring peace and that everywhere is calm now.
UPDATE 4: Riots break out in Kaduna in reaction to the bombings. Angry youth are protesting and are gradually becoming violent.
UPDATE 3: NEMA confirms another explosion in Kaduna
The agency’s spokseperson, Yushau Shuiabu said, “While rescue workers are busy attending to victims of explosions in Wusasa and Sabon Gari areas of Zaria, another explosion just occured in Bypass axis in Kaduna town
UPDATE 2: A church member at ECWA church said the attack there was carried out by a suicide bomber who forced himself into the vicinity of the church after the security guards at the gate tried to stop him. However, he detonated the bomb in front of the entrance.
UPDATE 1: We just received report that a third explosion has just gone off at Shalom Chuch, in the Tirkaniyaa area by Goni Gora neighbourhood of Kaduna. Casualty rate is unkown
Read our earlier post below
Two explosions have been reported at the Wusasa and Sabon Gari areas of Zaria, Kaduna State.
Reports reaching us say an explosion occured near a catholic church in the Wusasa neighbourhood of the city.
Witnesses say security agencies have already cordoned off the area and traffic are being diverted.
Other sources also report hearing another loud bang around the Sabon Gari area of the town close to an Evangelical Church of West Africa.
Another source later said the ECWA church was the target of the attack and that the church building was seriously damaged.
The two explosions, we are told, were followed by sporadic shootings.
Spokesperson of the Kaduna State command of the Nigerian Police Force, Aminu Lawan, confirmed the two explosions.
“Our men have been dispatched to the area, we will give you updates as soon as we confirm anything, right now investigations have commenced,” he said.
We are unable to confirm casualty figures at this time as rescue agencies say they are still working to comprehend the situation. But there are fears the casualty rate would be high since it happened while Sunday service were on.
The National Emergency Management Agency has confirmed the explosions.
“Rescue and security officers have moved to the scene,” NEMA spokesperson, Yushau Shuaib, said in a statement.