Call for protection of Christians after Nigeria suicide bombing

The Nigerian government must do more to protect Christians after another church was targeted over the weekend, an advocacy group has said.

A suicide bomber reportedly attempted to drive his explosives-laden car into the compound of the 1st Evangelical Church All Winning in Kaduna, but turned away when a security guard refused him entry.

Moments after the bomber drove away, explosions were heard in a nearby street. At least 39 people were killed in the attack.

Although no group has come forward to claim responsibility, suspicion has fallen on Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group that has carried out a string of attacks on churches and civic buildings in recent years.

Kaduna is situated along the dividing line between the predominantly Muslim north and Nigeria’s largely Christian south.

The Christian Association of Nigeria recently said it believes that Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sacrilege”, intends to “exterminate” Nigeria’s Christian population.

The Rev Yunusa Nmadu, chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide Nigeria, condemned the Kaduna bomb attack.

He called upon the international community and the US administration in particular to declare Boko Haram a terrorist group “because this is what it is in reality”.

He also appealed to the Nigerian government to ensure adequate protection for Christians “as they are the main targets and regular victims of the Boko Haram insurgency”.

Andrew Johnston, Advocacy Director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said that the burden of security should not be left to individuals.

“While it is heartening to hear that the church was able to evade the bomber’s attempt due to the quick-thinking of their security guard, it is deeply distressing that other innocent civilians of all tribes and creeds were not so fortunate,” he said.

“The burden for security cannot be shouldered by private citizens alone, and we urge the security services to step up their efforts to ensure that all citizens are protected.

“We also call on key members of the international community to assist the government of Nigeria by sharing intelligence and providing counter-insurgency training for the army and police force as they confront an enemy that has adopted increasingly sophisticated tactics.”