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Explosion Kills 3 People in Central Nigerian City of Jos

An explosion killed at least three people at a church today in the central Nigerian city of Jos, the country’s National Emergency Management Agency said.

“The explosion was triggered by a suspected suicide bomber whose body was shredded into pieces,” Yushau Shuaib, head of the emergency management agency, said by telephone, adding that at least 38 injured people were taken to hospitals.

Boko Haram“was responsible for the attack in a reaction to the molestation of Muslims by Christian residents in Jos,” its spokesman, Abul Qaqa, said by telephone today. The group, wants to impose Shariah, or Islamic law, in Africa’s most populous country.

Authorities in Africa’s top oil producer have blamed Boko Haram for bomb and gun attacks in northern Nigeria and Abuja since 2009 in which hundreds of people have died. The group, whose name means “Western education is a sin,” claimed responsibility for attacks in Kano, northern Nigeria’s biggest city, on Jan. 20 that killed at least 256 people, according to the Civil Rights Congress.

“Government is gradually and firmly bringing justice to those behind these attacks and exposing their identities and dismantling their terror infrastructure,” President Goodluck Jonathan said in a statement from the capital, Abuja. “Those behind similar acts of terror in recent times have been arrested and are being investigated with a view to prosecuting them accordingly, as a deterrent to others,” he said.

Nigeria, with more than 164 million people, is roughly split between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south. More than 14,000 people died in ethnic and religious clashes in the West African nation between 1999 and 2009, according to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.

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