REPORTING FROM JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA -- At least 38 people were killed Sunday in a suicide bombing near a church in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, news services reported. More than a dozen people were critically wounded.
No group claimed responsibility in the immediate aftermath. However, suspicions fell on the Islamic militant group Boko Haram, which has a history of attacking Nigerian Christians during religious festivals. The group launched a deadly Christmas Day attack on churchgoers last year, killing at least 44 people.
Sunday's attack came after security forces prevented a car from approaching the church. It exploded soon after, killing the driver and others nearby, Reuters news service reported.
Abubakar Zakari Adamu, a state emergency management official, told the Associated Press that at least 38 people were killed, based in part on a survey of hospitals in Kaduna.
Both the United States and Britain warned their citizens of the high risk of an Easter attack in northern Nigeria. The U.S. Embassy said American diplomats no longer travel to the north because of frequent terrorist attacks.
In major northern cities such as Kano and Maiduguri, many churchgoers fear going to Sunday services after a series of attacks in recent months. There was a heavy security presence in Maiduguri on Sunday. The city has seen many schools burned in recent months by Boko Haram, which wants to see Islamic Sharia law imposed across Nigeria, including in the mainly Christian south.
-- Robyn Dixon
Photo: People gather Sunday at the site of a bombing along a road in Kaduna, Nigeria. Credit: Emma Kayode / Associated Press