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Easter car bomb attack in Nigeria kills at least 38

A car bomb exploded near a church in Kaduna, central Nigeria, where worshippers were celebrating Easter Sunday, in an attack blamed on Boko Haram.

Easter bombing kaduna 20120408Enlarge
Soldiers chase away onlookers at the scene of the blast off the street in northern Nigerian city of Kaduna on April 8, 2012 after a car explosion killed at least 38 people, most of them commercial motorcyclists near a church. The explosion, a stark reminder of Christmas Day attacks that left dozens of people dead in Africa's most populous nation and largest oil producer, hit the city of Kaduna, a major cultural and economic centre in the north. Motorcycle taxi drivers and passers by appeared to have borne the brunt of the blast, and body parts littered the area. (STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

An explosion in the central Nigeria city of Kaduna has killed at least 38 people on Easter Sunday, according to reports.

The Associated Press said a car bomb exploded near a church where worshippers were attending an Easter service. Witnesses said it appeared the car had tried to enter the All Nations Christian Assembly Church compound, but was turned away before it detonated nearby.

At least 38 people were killed and many others suffered serious injuries, an emergency services official in Kaduna State told the AP. 

Many of the victims were motorcycle taxi drivers and passers-by on the street, including beggars, Agence France-Presse reported.

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Earlier reports said two vehicles packed with explosives had detonated near the Kaduna church, but due to extensive damage in the area, it was initially unclear if more than one vehicle was involved.

The Easter Sunday car bomb attack was reminiscent of the Christmas Day bombing that left dozens of people dead at a church on the outskirts of Abuja, Nigeria's capital, AFP said.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the Easter bombing, but the BBC reported that radical Islamist group Boko Haram recently said it would carry out attacks in the area during the Easter holiday.

Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sin,” wants Shariah law more widely applied in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and top oil producer. The AP said more than 380 people have been killed in violence blamed on the Boko Haram sect this year alone.

Kaduna is in the area of central Nigeria between the mainly Christian south and the Muslim north.

Upon news of the Kaduna bombing, security forces boosted patrols in Abuja, where soldiers were sent to help police with security near churches, AFP said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/nigeria/120408/nigeria-easter-bombing-kaduna-boko-haram