By BosNewsLife Africa Service
BAUCHI, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)-- Up to 15 people were killed and scores injured when a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into an evangelical church in northern Nigeria Sunday, June 3, an evangelist and reporter told BosNewsLife.
"There were at least 10 people killed and 35 injured at the 'Living Faith Church [on the outskirts of] Bauchi city in Nigeria this morning," said evangelist Paul Jongas, who is also a BosNewsLife stringer.
Officials later revised the death toll to at least 15 and said 42 people were injured in the area, which occurred when worshipers left an early morning service.
Witnesses said the powerful blast caused the church to collapse, trapping worshipers, killing civilians and security personnel, and leaving others with gruesome injuries.
State police commissioner Mohammed Ladan said in published remarks that a police checkpoint prevented the bomber from gaining access to his target. "So he rammed the car into a security gate and the car exploded."
No group has taken responsibility for the attack, but the militant Islamist group Boko Haram has targeted Nigerian churches in the past.
The group, whose name means "Western education is a sin" in the Hausa language of Nigeria's Muslim north, aims to establish a state based on Sharia, or Islamic law, also demanded that Christians leave the northern region.
It has been blamed for over 500 people this year alone, including the Christmas Day bombings of Nigerian churches that killed more than 30 people.
Boko Haram does not recognize the government or the country's constitution.
The country of roughly 160 million is about evenly divided between Muslims, who mostly live in the north, and Christians who dominate in the south.
Boko Haram, which speaks to journalists through telephone conference calls at times of its choosing, could not be immediately reached for comment Sunday, The Associated Press news agency reported.