At least 41 people were killed in an Easter Sunday suicide car bomb attack in Kaduna state, Nigeria.
A suicide bomber tried to drive his car into a church compound in the city of Kaduna, the state capital, but was turned aside by security guards. As police rushed over, the driver detonated the bomb near a motorcycle taxi rank. The dead include people of different faiths and tribal backgrounds. Taxi drivers and beggars bore the brunt of the blast. Dozens more were injured.
Kaduna is on the dividing line between the largely Christian south and mainly Muslim north. The bomb was set off in an area where there are many churches. Police say the main target was the Evangelical Church Winning All in Lemu Road.
Hours later another bomb exploded in Jos, Plateau state, injuring several people.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, but observers believe the Kaduna bomb was the work of Islamist terrorists Boko Haram. The sect wants to drive Christians out of the north and establish Taliban-like Sharia (Islamic law) in Nigeria.
Release’s partner in Nigeria says: ‘The bombing comes at a time when ethnic [Christian] communities are being continuously displaced by Fulani nomadic people. This is no doubt part of [the] campaign for Sharia law in Nigeria.’
On Easter Monday, the Christian Association of Nigeria went ahead with hosting an event offering refreshments to young Muslims in Kaduna. Their aim was to encourage understanding, forgiveness and dialogue and to condemn violence.
Azerbaijan: A judge in Baku will decide on Thursday whether to order a church in the capital to be pulled down (Prayer Alert, March 15). Greater Grace Protestant Church could be demolished within a fortnight if the court decides it has broken rules about compulsory re-registration. If so, all its activities would become illegal and its members could be prosecuted, according to Forum 18. The church says it was never formally required to re-register and received no warnings of the legal action. The action is thought to be the first attempt to force a religious community to close under the 2009 Religion Law.
(Sources: BBC, AP, Reuters, Compass Direct, The Moment, Forum 18)
- Please pray for the Christians who are the targets of continuing attacks in Nigeria. Pray that they would know God’s grace and be able to respond with love and forgiveness towards their Muslim neighbours.
- Pray that Christians would not give in to hatred and fear, but that God would keep them in his perfect peace as they trust in him.
- Pray that Greater Grace Church would not be shut down by the authorities. Pray that Christians would continue to be free to witness to the gospel in Azerbaijan.