Thursday, January 18, 2018

21 killed in north Nigeria church service attacks

KANO, Nigeria — Gunmen attacked worship services at a university campus and a church Sunday in northern Nigeria, killing at least 21 people in coordinated assaults that saw panicked Christians gunned down as they tried to flee, witnesses and officials said.

The deadlier attack targeted an old section of Bayero University's campus in the city of Kano where churches hold Sunday services. Gunmen killed at least 16 people and wounded at least 22 others, according to the Nigerian Red Cross.

A later attack in the northeast city of Maiduguri saw gunmen open fire at a Church of Christ in Nigeria chapel, killing five people, including a pastor preparing for Communion, witnesses said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but the attacks bore similarities to others carried by a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram. The city of Maiduguri is where Boko Haram once had its main mosque.

Boko Haram is waging a growing sectarian battle with Nigeria's weak central government, using suicide car bombs and assault rifles in attacks across the country's predominantly Muslim north and around its capital, Abuja.

Those killed have included Christians, Muslims and government officials. The sect has been blamed for killing more than 450 people this year alone, according to an Associated Press count.

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