By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
NIGERIA (ANS) -- Kaduna City in northern Nigeria is currently under a 24-hour curfew after suicide bomb attacks on three churches sparked sectarian clashes.
According to a news release from Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), on June 17, a suicide bomber drove a car full of explosives into the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) ... in Wusasa, Zaria. It destroyed the children's church building and killed a child and a young man. Several others were wounded, including many children and CSW Nigeria's coordinator for Zaria.
Also in Zaria, CSW added, two suicide bombers in separate cars targeted Christ the King Catholic Church as the congregation was leaving Mass, killing about 16 people and wounding several others.
In the Trikaniya area of Kaduna City, another bomb exploded at the Shalom Pentecostal Church as ushers were interrogating the bomber, killing three.
Yunusa Nmadu, CEO of CSW Nigeria, said in a news release, "Attacks on Christians while they legitimately worship on Sundays are now a common occurrence. Unless the culture of impunity is overcome, our country will slowly slip into another civil war that will be fought along religious lines."
In a comment on the targeting of church services, the Anglican Archbishop of Jos, the Most Rev Benjamin Kwashi, said in the news release, "Weekends are now a terror for Christians in northern and central Nigeria. My heart truly bleeds at the unnecessary killings. I am deeply saddened that in a nation like Nigeria there are people who sponsor, plan, train and support people to execute evil specifically targeted against worship of God on Sundays by Christians in churches."
CSW said more lives were lost in the aftermath of the bombings as sectarian violence erupted, with angry youth taking to the streets of Sabon Tasha and Gonin Gora, in the southern part of Kaduna City. They were protesting the inability of the security services to prevent the bombings of churches, which have taken place every Sunday in northern Nigeria for the last three weeks. The situation was later brought under control, and a curfew imposed.
Mervyn Thomas, CSW's chief executive, said in the news release, "We extend our heartfelt condolences to those who have lost loved ones in these senseless attacks, and urge Christians worldwide to unite in prayer and solidarity with Christians in northern and central Nigeria."
Thomas added, "After multiple attacks by suicide bombers or gunmen on churches in these areas in the last few weeks, frustration is mounting in these communities, resulting in sectarian clashes, which are effectively unraveling local peace initiatives and creating an atmosphere for further conflict. The Nigerian government must ensure the safety of innocent civilians in these communities and see to it that the perpetrators of violence are prevented from carrying out these attacks, apprehended and brought to justice along with their funders and known patrons."
Christian Solidarity Worldwide is a Christian organization working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.
For further information, visit www.csw.org.uk.