KANO - A suicide bomber who tried to drive an explosives-packed car into a church in northern Nigeria on Sunday killed at least 15 people, including himself, and injured 40, officials said. Speeding up his vehicle, the attacker approached a checkpoint near the church in Bauchi State, which has previously been hit by Islamist group Boko Haram and where tension between Muslims and Christians has led to violence in the past. “We have a checkpoint not far from the church which prevented the bomber from gaining access to his target,” said state police commissioner Mohammed Ladan.
“So he rammed the car into a security gate and the car exploded,” Ladan added.
Bauchi’s State Emergency Management Agency said in a statement that it found 15 dead bodies at the blast site and evacuated 40 injured people to a nearby hospital, adding that the area around the church had been cordoned off by police.
Witnesses said the force of the blast near the Harvest Field of Christ church on the outskirts of Bauchi city caused the building to collapse on the worshippers inside.
Residents said that when the building came down, some fled outside seeking refuge, but ran into a raging fire.
“There was confusion as residents and churchgoers tried to flee. Some of them out of fright fell into the fire caused by the explosion,” said resident Timothy Joshua.