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Kaduna Bombings: Death Toll Exceeds 100

The death toll as a result of the bomb explosions that hit churches
at Zaria and Kaduna yesterday and the reprisal attacks at different
parts of Kaduna metropolis has continued to increase.

Though
official figures by the police and State Emergency Management Agency put
the death toll at 34 and the wounded 150 persons, unofficial account
from members of the affected Zaria and Kaduna churches that spoke to P.M.NEWS today put the figures at over 100 with more than 300 injured
Solomon
Shendong , a member of the bombed ECWA Church, Wusasa, Zaria, revealed
that 30 members of the church have been confirmed dead, while several
others are still in critical condition at Anglican Church, Wusasa, and
other hospitals in Zaria.


Mathew Ishaya , a member who claimed to have “escaped death by the whiskers,” informed P.M.NEWS that the bombers killed more than 20 members and over 60 were severely injured.
And at Shalom church, Kaduna, a church official disclosed that only a soldier, two private security guards and the bomber died.

According to the official, “no member of the church died except for one of our ushers that was injured.”

A
source among a team of National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA,
evacuating the dead victims of the reprisal attacks at Sabon-Tasha,
Nasarawa, Ungwar Romi, Goni-Gora, Trikania, Kudenda and other parts of
the state told our correspondent that they had picked more that 80
corpses, most of them burnt.

Effort to reach NEMA was futile but P.M.NEWS gathered that the death toll was still rising and may shoot up to over 100.

However,
normalcy has returned to Kaduna follwing the round-the-clock curfew
imposed on the state yesterday after riots broke out in different parts
of the metropolis.
Residents have been forced to remain indoors while soldiers and other security personnel are patrolling the streets.

The
24-hour curfew according to Senior Special to Kaduna Governor, Reuben
Buhari will remain until there was a clear sign of some relative calm in
the state.
Meanwhile, rescuers searched for bodies and hospitals
struggled to find blood Monday after suicide attacks on three churches
in Nigeria and subsequent rioting killed at least 45 and wounded more
than 100, reports AFP.

“Many of them need surgery, but a shortage
of blood is stalling treatment,” a Red Cross official in Kaduna said of
the wounded on Monday.

“We’re still going about looking for more bodies in these neighbourhoods.”
Officials
put the state — which last year saw rioting that left more than 600
people dead in the wake of presidential elections — under curfew for 24
hours.

“As of last night, around 10 p.m., the death toll stood at
45,” a rescue official said on condition of anonymity as he was not
authorised to issue death tolls.
“The death toll is expected to rise when we get updated.”

More than 100 people were injured in the day of violence, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.
The
first blast struck ECWA Goodnews Church in the Wusasa area of Zaria
city early Sunday. The second explosion went off 10 minutes later at the
Christ the King Catholic church in Zaria’s Sabongari area, a police
statement said.

The third blast hit the Shalom Church in Kaduna city moments later.
A worshipper said he saw a bomber drive an explosives-packed car into the church building.
“Right
away the car exploded and killed a soldier and two private security
guards guarding the church,” Joseph Emmanuel told AFP.

The violent
response by Christian youth mobs that followed the attacks was termed
“a momentary breakdown of law and order,” in the police statement.

The
police chief urged “criminal elements who have been carrying out
campaigns of violence on innocent Nigerians and institutions to desist
forthwith,” in the statement issued from Abuja.
He also said a massive deployment of forces had been ordered across “every nook and cranny of the state.”

One Kaduna resident said it was not safe to travel on Sunday.
“I cancelled my trip to Abuja because of the huge number of rioters that have taken over the roads,” the man told AFP.

The
latest church blasts resembled those previously claimed by Boko Haram,
responsible for more than 1,000 deaths since mid-2009.

The
Islamist group has already this month claimed two attacks that struck
churches during Sunday prayers, including a suicide blast in Bauchi
state that left at least 15 dead.

Nigeria’s population of 160 million is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.

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