Suspected an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria terrorists carried out a suicide bombing at the Redeemed Christians Church of God in Potiskum, Yobe state, in the northeastern part of Nigeria on Sunday. The bombing killed a pastor and four other worshippers, including a mother and her two children.
While a police official told the media it was a male bomber, a witness at the church told the Associated Press (AP) it was a female bomber.
“Police rushed to the church on Sunday. Wailing women and stunned men wandered around the wreckage of smashed bricks and twisted zinc sheets blown off the church roof. One congregant said the blast came from a woman in the congregation. She was too scared to give her name,” reported the AP.
Another witness told AFP News the bomber arrived at the church on a motorized rickshaw disguised as a worshipper and detonated the explosives after entering the church.
Hours later, on Sunday evening, explosions rocked the city of Jos in Plateau state. Open Doors workers reported: “We heard a loud sound about 9 p.m. and a few minutes later we heard that there was a bomb blast on Bauchi road near the University of Jos. Initial reports put the death toll at 30. We are not sure how many Christians are affected.”
The Jos attack, later put at 44 victims, came at a mosque and Muslim restaurant.
These attacks came at the end of a week in which an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria bombs left at least 200 people dead, according to the BBC.
“The alarming trend of violence against Christians in Nigeria over the past months highlights the lack of religious freedom they have and daily dangers they face from the Islamic extremist group an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria and other violent organizations,” Open Doors President and CEO David Curry told the Christian Post.
“Going to school, attending church or identifying yourself as a Christian is a very brave decision in Nigeria. It is turning into a bloodbath. Christians in the West must stand in the gap with our prayers and support.”
Boko Haram’s attacks in Nigeria have left more than 2,000 people dead this year alone, according to one report.
The Open Doors staff in Nigeria asks for prayers for the situation surrounding the Jos bombings: “Please pray that the situation will not get out of hand. Some Muslims who are pointing the finger for the attack at Christians have tried to attack at least one church, but soldiers intervened.”
Nigeria is ranked #10 on Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.