|A church attacked today in Kaduna|
The violence stoked fears of wider sectarian conflict in Nigeria, an Opec member and Africa's top oil producer. The Christian Association of Kano, northern Nigeria's main city, called the bombings “a clear invitation to religious war”.
The previous Sunday, militants attacked two churches in Nigeria, spraying the congregation of one with bullets, killing at least one person, and blowing up a car in a suicide bombing at the other, wounding 41. Boko Haram claimed responsibility.
|One of the injured|
First, a suicide bomber drove a blue Honda Civic into Ekwa Church, its pastor told a Reuters news agency cameraman at the scene.
“Three people are confirmed killed. Others have been taken to hospital for treatment,” said the Rev Nathan Waziri.
The second suicide car bombing was at Kings Catholic Church, killing 10 people, said Bishop George Dogo of Zaria, who was giving a service in the church when it was attacked.
Suicide bombers in a Toyota saloon then hit Shalom Church in the state's main city of Kaduna, killing six people. The military said the dead included an army sergeant.
Manan Janet, who was in the church, said: “It was terrible. I'm traumatised.”
Musa Ilela, an official from the National Emergency Management Agency in Kaduna state, said the final death toll had yet to be established.
After the bombings, Christian youths blocked the main road leading south out of Kaduna to Nigeria’s capital Abuja, pulling Muslims out of cars and killing them, said witnesses.“We had to return home when we saw [the Christian youths] attacking. I saw many bodies on the ground, but I don't know how many were dead or just injured,” said Rafael Gwaza, a local resident.
Haruna Isah, another witness, said up to 20 people might have been killed in reprisals at the roadblock. “There were bodies everywhere,” he said.
The office of Patrick Yakowa, Kaduna state governor, said a 24-hour curfew was being imposed across the state, adding: “The state government considers this to be necessary in order to avert further loss of lives and properties.”
Boko Haram says it is fighting to reinstate an ancient Islamic caliphate that would adhere to strict sharia Islamic law.
Abubakar Shekau, the Islamists' leader, says attacks on Christians are in revenge for killings of Muslims in Nigeria's volatile "Middle Belt", where the largely Christian south and mostly Muslim north meet.
Photos courtesy of AP
Photos courtesy of AP