More than 10 churches have been attacked in 2012 alone, with an Islamist militant group often claiming responsibility. On Sunday, some Christians launched deadly reprisals.
Suspected Islamic militants bombed worshipers at three Christian churches on Sunday in northern Nigeria, killing some 23 people. Frustrated with the government's inability to stop a string of such attacks in recent months, some Christians responded today with reprisals, killing at least 7 more people.
More than 150 people, mostly Christians, have been injured from today's violence. Police have not confirmed casualty figures, which are tallies from hospital officials.
In 2012 alone, more than 10 Christian churches have been attacked in Nigeria. Boko Haram, a militant Islamic sect, has claimed responsibility for some of these attacks, including attacks on two churches last Sunday.
Until today, Christians living in the predominately-Muslim north have mostly resisted being provoked to violence, responding instead with calls on the government to suppress Boko Haram and reestablish security. Today's retaliation from some Christians is raising concerns that a cycle of religious violence could start in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation.
"The reprisal attack is wrong because the solution to the country's insecurity is by ensuring dialogue with the sect members who are attacking the Christians and even Muslims," says Ignatius Kasuwa, an analyst from Kaduna state, the scene of today's church attacks.
Mr. Kasuwa also appealed to the government to immediately overcome the issue of insecurity in the country, stressing that "Muslims and Christians worship God but reprisal is against the teaching of the two religions."
Kaduna state lies on the dividing line between the country's Christian majority in the south and mostly-Muslim north. Police suspect the blasts at the three churches this morning were carried out by suicide bombers. One attack targeted the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) church in Wusasa, another at the Catholic cathedral of Christ the King in Zaria, and a third at Shalom Church in Trikania.