JOS, Nigeria – Bombers attacked churches Sunday in northern Nigeria during worship services, killing at least one person and wounding others in the latest attacks in a region under increasing assault by a radical Islamist sect, witnesses said.
In Jos, a city on the uneasy dividing line between Nigeria's largely Muslim north and Christian south, a bomb exploded at the Evangelical Church Winning All chapel in the city, causing unknown injuries, said Mark Lipdo, who runs a Christian advocacy group called the Stefanos Foundation.
Local police spokesman Abuh Emmanuel confirmed the attack at the Jos church, but declined to give any details on the bombing. A state government spokesman also could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile in Biu, a city in northeast Nigeria's Borno state, a bomb detonated during a service at an EYN church, an acronym that means "Church of the Brethen in Nigeria" in the local Hausa language of Nigeria's north, witnesses said. An usher at the church was killed while others were injured, witnesses said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. Nigeria faces a growing wave of sectarian violence carried out by a sect known as Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in Hausa. Boko Haram has been blamed for killing more than 560 people this year alone, according to an Associated Press count. The sect's targets have included churches, police stations and other security buildings, often attacked by suicide car bombers across northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram, which speaks to journalists through telephone conference calls at times of its choosing, could not be immediately reached for comment Sunday. The sect most recently claimed responsibility for the drive-by killing Tuesday of a retired deputy inspector-general of police and two other officers in Nigeria's largest northern city of Kano.
Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people, is divided between a largely Muslim north and Christian south. Boko Haram attacks have inflamed tensions between the two religions, though many in the faiths live peacefully with each other and intermarry in Africa's most populous nation.
Associated Press reporters Haruna Umar in Maiduguri, Nigeria and Jon Gambrell in Lagos, Nigeria contributed to this report.