A suicide bomber on Sunday attacked the St. John’s Catholic Church in the Wunti area of Bauchi, Bauchi State.
Police confirmed that four persons, including a four-year-old boy and the bomber, died in the attack that took place immediately after the morning mass at 8.55am.
Forty six other persons, according to the Public Relations Officer, Bauch State Police Command, Hassan Auyo, sustained varying degrees of injuries.
A similar bomb attack on the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Mandalla, Niger State, last Christmas Day left at least 43 dead and scores injured.
The suicide bomber in Bauch in Sunday, according to witnesses, rammed his Opel Vectra car onto the church gate when he could not gain entrance into the premises as a result of a barricade.
Since the Christmas Day bombing in Madalla and others in the North, worship houses have been encouraged by security agencies to take precautionary measures to secure their buildings and worshippers.
Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, Bauchi State chapter, Rev. Lawi Pokti, said more than 40 worshipers were injured, some critically.
Pokti, “The incident occurred around 8.55am. when the first set of worshippers were coming out of the church and the second session was about to start.
“The suicide bomber came in an Opel car but could not get through to the church premises so he hit the barricade at the gate and detonated his explosive device.
“He and three worshipers died while over 40 others were injured. Some of those injured are battling between life and death.”
A worshipper, Mr Osondu Chukwu, told the News Agency of Nigeria that but for the barricade, the casualties would have been more.
“The sound was massive. You could imagine what would have happened if he had succeeded in getting to the hall where service was taking place,” he said.
Secretary of the Nigeria Red Cross in Bauchi State,
Mr Adamu Abubakar, also confirmed that three persons died along with the bomber.
“Three persons died and 48 others were injured. Those injured are now being treated at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital, Bauchi,” he said.
Pokti, who described the attack as unfortunate, called on President Goodluck Jonathan to be courageous enough to address the lingering insecurity in the country.
“Are Christians being forced to abandon the worship of their God? What have the Christians done to warrant these unprovoked attacks? The
President must wake up to address the problem. We are really disappointed because its like there is no one to protect us against these killings,” he lamented.
He also called on the Bauchi State Government to intensify efforts at curbing attacks on their members, saying Christians were no longer safe to go to church.
The Bauchi State Government described the Sunday attack as the handiwork of terrorists.
Governor Isa Yuguda, in a statement by his Chef Press Secretary, Mr Ishola Michael, assured residents that his administration was doing everything possible to forestall a recurrence by intensifying security in the state.
Meanwile, the Joint Security Task Force in Yobe State on Sunday conducted door-to-door searches in Damaturu, the state capital, and Potiskum, following repeated attacks by suspected members of a violent Islamis sect, Boko Haram.
The authorities have also imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on Damaturu and Postikum.
The Commissioner of police in the state, Patrick Egbuniwe, said the curfew would affect residents of the two cities.
Egbuniwe said he didn’t know when the curfew would be lifted, as the military had plans to flush out Boko Haram gunmen from the two cities.
Boko Haram has waged a relentless battle against the Federal Government with attacks on police stations, military facilities and drinking joints, especially in the North East and the Federal Capital Territory.
The sect has accounted for no fewer than 700 killings this year alone. Its targets include the Police headquarters building and the United Nations office complex in Abuja. Both were attacked last year, killing at least 45 persons in the attacks.