Multiple suicide attacks on churches in northern Nigeria and subsequent rioting by Christian youths targeting Muslims killed at least 21 people on Sunday, officials said.
Bomb blasts struck three churches in the northern Kaduna state in the space of an hour, the latest in a string of Sunday attacks that has threatened to ignite wider sectarian strife across the divided country.
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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bloodshed but the attacks were likely to be blamed on Boko Haram, an extremist group bent on creating an Islamic state and responsible for scores of recent attacks.
Police placed the state under curfew for 24 hours “to assess the situation”, leaving Kaduna’s seven million inhabitants banned from leaving their homes for a full day.
Two churches were attacked in the city of Zaria and one in Kaduna City, killing at least 16 people, police said, adding all three attacks were carried out by suicide bombers.
After news of the blasts spread, Christian youths took to the main motorway that leads to the capital Abuja, attacking motorists who looked Muslim.