Official: Blast hits military church in northcentral Nigeria; casualties unknown.

Associated Press

LAGOS, Nigeria - A blast has hit a church in a major military establishment in northcentral Nigeria, an official said Sunday, a month after a church bombing in the same state killed at least seven people and injured more than a hundred others.

The explosion occurred after a church service in military barracks in Jaji town in Kaduna state, said National Emergency Management Agency spokesman Yushau Shuaib.

Shuaib said the casualties are unknown.

Police spokesman Aminu Lawan declined to comment, saying that it was a military matter. A military spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Jaji is home to one of the country's most important military bases and civilian authorities in Nigeria are generally reluctant to comment on military affairs.

It is not clear how the blast occurred and there was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday's attack.

However, the blast came a month after another church was attacked in the city of Kaduna, about 25 miles (40 kilometres) away.

In that attack, a suicide bomber rammed an SUV loaded with explosives into St. Rita's Catholic church holding Mass on Oct. 28 in Kaduna, killing at least seven people and wounding more than 100 others.

The killings sparked instant reprisals in a city with a history of religious violence, leaving at least two more people dead.

Churches have been increasingly targeted by violence in Nigeria. In Kaduna state, there were church attacks on three weekends in a row in June. These attacks and the ensuing reprisals left at least 50 people dead.

A radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the June attacks, but nobody has claimed responsibility for the latest attacks — last month and Sunday — which have again rocked the volatile state.

Kaduna state sits on Nigeria's dividing line between its largely Christian south and Muslim north.

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