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Published on 28 December, 2010

Christians target of bomb in Nigeria

Nigeria (MNN) — Riot police were patrolling the streets of Jos in central Nigeria on Monday after clashes between rival ethnic groups over a series of bombings on Christmas Eve left as many as 14 dead.

Four explosions went off on Friday as people went about their last-minute Christmas shopping, killing at least 32 and wounding more than 100. Another six people were killed in the north of the country after heavily-armed gangs attacked at least two churches.

The first attacks took place in Plateau State, in the middle of the country. The church attacks look place in the state of Borno. Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says, "Borno is one of the states in Nigeria that has adopted Sharia Law. Plateau State has not adopted Sharia Law, but it is right on the borderline with several state that have. So, it has been a hotbed."

Jos has been the focus of Muslim/Christian conflict over the last year.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the Christmas Eve bombings. "The secretary-general is appalled by the violence that caused the loss of so many innocent lives," the UN said in a statement on its Web site yesterday. Ban "supports efforts by the Nigerian authorities to bring those responsible to justice."

Blasts occurred in three separate locations in Jos, the capital of Plateau state, on Dec. 24, while attacks on two churches the next day left six people dead in Maiduguri, capital of Borno, according to police. Sunday, the government imposed a 10-hour curfew in Jos, where sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims this year has killed as many as 500 people.

Nettleton says VOM is helping Christians in Nigeria. "We have provided medical care in the past. We also provide Christian literature and other materials to strengthen the church and help the church respond in a Christ-like way, even when they face situations like this."

You can help VOM help the church in Nigeria and around the world. Click here to get involved.

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