LAGOS, Nigeria – Three church blasts rocked a northern Nigerian state Sunday, officials said, prompting protests in a state that has previously been strained by religious tensions.
The first two blasts hit churches in the city of Zaria, said Kaduna State police spokesman Aminu Lawan. National Emergency Management Agency spokesman Yushau Shuaib said the third explosion rocked the city of Kaduna.
Neither spokesman could say how many people may have been killed or hurt.
A Nigerian Red Cross report said rescuers are still trying to get victims of the Zaria attacks to nearby hospitals. The report said young people have started protesting in Zaria, raising fears that Sunday’s church attacks could further inflame a state strained by religious tensions.
Churches have been increasingly targeted by violence in Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people. An Easter Day blast in Kaduna left at least 38 people dead. A Christmas Day suicide bombing of a Catholic church in Madalla near Nigeria’s capital killed at least 44 people.
Authorities said they had no immediate suspects for Sunday’s attacks, though a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram has claimed similar attacks in the past.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s north, is waging an increasingly bloody fight with security agencies and the public. More than 560 people have been killed in violence blamed on the sect this year alone, according to an Associated Press count.