The intrepid mujahedin, keeping the world safe from tidings of comfort and joy. “Explosions Rip Through Churches in Nigeria,” from the New York Times, December 25:
A series of explosions were reported Sunday across Nigeria, including one at a Catholic Church near the capital that killed at least 25 people, Nigerian authorities said. A radical Muslim sect, Boko Haram, has claimed responsibility.
At least three of the five explosions appeared to target churches during Christmas services, according to media reports. One explosion struck St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, a town about 25 miles north and west of the capital, Abuja.
Rescue workers there recovered at least 25 bodies and officials continued to tally the wounded in various hospitals, said Slaku Luguard, a coordinator with the National Emergency Management Agency.
His agency has acknowledged it did not have enough ambulances immediately on hand to help the wounded. Mr. Luguard also said an angry crowd that gathered at the blast site hampered rescue efforts as they refused to allow workers inside.
“We”re trying to calm the situation,” he said. “There are some angry people around trying to cause problems.”
Witnesses said that St. Theresa’s Church was filled for the Christmas service when the bomb exploded.
“Mass just ended and people were rushing out of the church and suddenly I heard a loud sound “˜gbam”. Cars were in flames and bodies littered everywhere,” Nnana Nwachukwu told Reuters.
Timothy Onyekwere told Reuters that he was in the church with his family when the bomb exploded.
“I just ran out. Now I don’t even know where my children or my wife are,” Mr. Onyekwere said. “I don’t know how many were killed but there were many dead.”
Some said the blast was inside and others thought it came from just outside the church.
A Reuters reporter at the blast site said that the church’s front roof had been destroyed in the blast, as had several houses near it. Five burnt out cars were still smoldering.
A Boko Haram spokesman, who identified himself as Abu Qaqa, claimed responsibility for the attacks in statements to the media. In the last year, Boko Haram has carried out increasingly bloody attacks in its campaign to install strict Shariah or Muslim law across Nigeria, killing at least 491. The same group also claimed responsibility for a series of Christmas Eve bombings a year ago in the northeast city of Jos that left at least 32 dead and 74 wounded.
A second explosion on Sunday struck near the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church in Jos, a government spokesman, Pam Ayuba, said. Mr. Ayuba said gunmen later opened fire on police officers guarding the area, killing one officer. Two other bombs were found in a nearby building and disarmed, he said….