KANO (AFP) – An explosion rocked an area near a church on Christmas day in Jos, residents said, after an earlier blast near a church outside the capital Abuja killed at least 15 people.
“There has been an explosion in the Rikkos area of the city near a church where worshippers were observing Christmas service,” said resident David Pam. “It’s unclear whether the church was the target of the attack.”
A spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency confirmed the explosion and said no casualties had been reported. It was unclear whether the explosion and the deadly blast outside Abuja were linked.
Another resident said the Jos blast occurred near the Mountain of Fire evangelical church within Jos, a city that has been hit by waves of violence between Christian and Muslim ethnic groups in recent years.
According to the resident, who gave his name as Jude, the explosion occurred around 11:00 am when worshippers were set to exit the church. He said the attackers threw an explosive device at the church.
“They aimed at the church, but one of the policemen patrolling the area saw them and shot at the direction and they quickly took to their heels,” he said.
“Apart from the explosives they came with, they were well armed and they also fired some shots before they fled. Fortunately, the policeman was not hurt and the explosion did not land inside the church premises as it fell outside, so nobody was hurt.”
A spokesman for a military task force in the area did not respond to phone calls.
Jos was hit by a string of bomb blasts on Christmas Eve 2010.