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Suicide bomber kills 8, injures 100-plus at Nigerian church

KADUNA, NIGERIA (BNO NEWS) -- At least eight people were killed Sunday and more than 100 others were injured when a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car into a church in north-central Nigeria, emergency officials said on Monday. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The attack happened at around 9 a.m. local time when the attacker crashed an explosives-filled vehicle into the St. Rita Catholic Church in the Malali neighborhood of Kaduna, the capital of the north-central state which carries the same name, causing a huge explosion. It happened after security teams at the entrance of the church denied the vehicle's entry, but it was still able to impact the wall surrounding the church.

Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said at least eight people were killed while more than 100 others were injured. "NEMA mobilized rescuers and other response agencies to the scene," he said. "A number of casualties [have been] evacuated to hospitals."

Some Nigerian media claimed as many as fifteen people had been killed, but those figures could not immediately be verified. The injured victims were transported to different medical centers in the region, including the Barau Dikko Specialists Hospital, the Army Reference Hospital, Garkuwa Specialists Hospital, and the St. Gereard Catholic Hospital.

Following the initial blast, first responders were attacked as they arrived at the scene. According to NEMA, angry mobs formed by locals attacked their vehicles with sticks, machetes and other weapons. Other reports added that the mobs continued the violence in nearby streets, possibly claiming at least two more lives.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday's bombing, but previous attacks on Nigerian Christians have also been blamed on the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram, which has been blamed for most of the region's terrorist attacks. The group is seeking the imposition of an extremist stance of the Shariah law, which is a Muslim code of conduct. The group's name, in the local language of Hausa, roughly translates as 'Western religion is sacrilegious' or 'non-Islamic religion is a sin.'

In June, at least six people were killed and more than 50 others were injured when Boko Haram militants attacked two churches in central and northeastern Nigeria. One of the attacks took place at the entrance of Lord's Chosen Church in Jos, a city in central Nigeria which divides a largely Muslim north and Christian south.

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