Smoke rises after a bomb blast at the market district in Jos, Nigeria, May 20. Back-to-back bombings killed at least 118 people and wounded 45 in the crowded business district of the central Nigerian city, the National Emergency Management Agency reporte d, in an attack that appeared to bear the hallmarks of Boko Haram insurgents. CNS photo/Reuters

Nigerian archbishop condemns twin bombings as setback for peace

By  Peter Ajayi Dada, Catholic News Service
  • May 20, 2014

LAGOS, Nigeria - Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos condemned twin bombings that claimed more than 100 lives in his city, saying they were setbacks to peace efforts.

The explosions May 20 occurred within 30 minutes of each other at a bus terminal and adjacent market, killing 118 people and injuring 45, the National Emergency Management Agency reported.

The bombings were the latest in a country already jittery over a series of similar attacks and kidnappings carried out by Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group with a somewhat undefined leadership and structure. No one claimed immediate credit for the Jos bombings.

Kaigama, president of the Nigerian bishops' conference, told reporters during a news conference that the prospects for peace seemed to improve in recent weeks.

"Just two weeks ago, the Catholic Church did fundraising for its new cathedral, and Muslim leaders were not only there, but actually made donations," the archbishop said. "Because of the solidarity and the oneness that characterized the event, we concluded that peace had finally returned to Jos.

"So, this news is very disturbing, very retrogressive and quite sad."

Kaigama advised Nigerians to be prayerful and predicted that the attacks would soon end.

Located in Plateau state, Jos is at the crossroads between the mainly Muslim North and predominantly Christian South. The city has often seen what appears to be sectarian violence, although some Church leaders insist the violence is based on other factors, such as political power and economic factors.

Julius Onah of Jos said he was disturbed by the bombings as well as other recent incidents. He expressed concern about a series of Boko Haram abductions and attacks, including the April 14 abduction of schoolgirls in Borno state in the northeast. While some students managed to escape, Boko Haram continues to hold 276 girls, sparking a worldwide movement calling for their release.

Other incidents include the May 14 burning of two schools in Bauchi state and a suicide car bombing May 18 in a mainly Christian area of Kano, Nigeria's second biggest city.

"Yesterday, (May 20) it was the turn of Jos again. God, come and save Nigeria from this negative publicity,'' Onah said.
Investigators continued scouring the bombing scenes for evidence May 21.

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