OSUN DEFENDER, GUARDIAN, VANGUARD (Nigeria)
KADUNA – A tense curfew was holding Monday across Nigeria after one of the worst days of violence between Muslims and Christians in memory as the nation continues to add new scars from sectarian violence.
Boko Haram, a Jihadist group with links to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility Monday for the bombings, the latest in a series against churches in northern Nigeria, specifically targeting women and children. The radical Islamist group seeks to establish sharia law in Nigeria. In a statement published by the Osun Defender after the attacks, Boko Haram claimed "Christians must all convert to Islam in order to have peace."
For former Minister of Defense, Adetokunbo Kayode, Boko Haram has "no doubt overwhelmed the country's security apparatus." He added that Nigeria was not used to terrorism and that it would take time for the government to address the situation.
"It was another dark Sunday yesterday as rage, blood-letting from suicide bombing and reprisal attacks in Kaduna and Zaria brought the two cities to their knees," writes the Nigerian daily The Guardian.
The first attack was at a children's Christian Sunday school in Zaria, reports the Vanguard, where 10 students and their teacher were killed. According to eyewitness accounts, five men "ran up to the church and hurled home-made bombs through its open doors."
Later, at Christ the King Cathedral in Zaria, 11 worshippers were killed by a suicide bomber, and scores more injured. The third attack occurred in Shalom Church in Kaduna, where five people were also killed by a suicide bomber.
Soon after the bombings, groups of Christian youths went on a rampage, torching mosques, cars and Muslim homes, and killing many people. "Sporadic gunshots rent the air in the areas as residents were holed up in their homes. Armored tanks and military patrol vehicles were immediately deployed in the streets to beef up security," reports the Guardian.
The state government was quick to stem the violence by imposing a 24-hour curfew. All together, more than 50 people were killed on Sunday. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, called for calm, saying that attacking innocent people, who have nothing to do with the suicide attacks, served only to worsen an already complicated situation.