Dozens die after car bomb in Nigeria
A car bomb has exploded along a busy road in a central Nigeria city, killing at least 38 people, in the latest attack on a region beset by religious, ethnic and political violence.
The blast struck Kaduna, the capital of Kaduna State, on Saturday morning, leaving charred motorcycles and debris strewn across the road.
Nearby hotels had their windows blown out of by the force of the powerful explosion, which engulfed a group of motorcycle taxi-men.
At least 38 people were killed in the blast, said Abubakar Zakari Adamu, a spokesman for the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency. Others suffered serious injuries and were receiving treatment at local hospitals, Mr Adamu said.
The explosion badly damaged the nearby All Nations Christian Assembly Church as churchgoers worshipped at an Easter service, the possible target of the bomber.
Witnesses said it appeared the explosive-laden car attempted to go into the compound of that church before it detonated.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, though suspicion immediately fell on a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language of Nigeria's north, is waging an increasingly bloody fight with security agencies and the public.
More than 380 people have been killed in violence blamed on the sect this year alone.
The sect, employing suicide bombers and assault-rifle shoot-outs, has attacked both Christians and Muslims, as well as the United Nations' headquarters in Nigeria. It has rejected efforts to begin indirect peace talks with Nigeria's government.
Its demands include the introduction of strict Shariah law across the country, even in Christian areas, and the release of all imprisoned followers.