JOS, Nigeria – Security officials are trying to determine suspects and motives for two weekend bomb explosions in predominantly Muslim areas of Jos where three churches and the residences of Islamic sect leaders are located.
The explosions led many Christians to remain indoors on Sunday (July 31). One bomb exploded on Saturday night (July 30) in the Angwan Rimi area of Jos near a Baptist Church building no longer in use because of previous damage by Muslim extremists. A second bomb exploded early Sunday morning near a Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) building on Sarkin Mangu Street and an Assemblies of God sanctuary in the Kwarrarafa Area, according to police reports obtained by Compass.
No one was hurt in either of the explosions.
Prominent Islamic leaders residing in the area of the Sunday morning blast include Sheik Balarabe Dawud, chief imam of Jos Central Mosque, and Sheik Sani Yahaya, leader of the Izala Islamic sect.
The churches near both blasts are located in areas that are predominantly Muslim because of displacement of Christians during religious conflict earlier this year. Christians have been forced to relocate to safer areas of the city.
Fears that large-scale violence by the Islamic extremist Boko Haram sect would seize Nigeria at the end of July, on the two-year anniversary of the death of the group’s leader, were not borne out.
The explosion on Saturday (July 30), from a bomb disguised as an empty can of groundnut oil, occurred in an area of Jos where Sheikh Saidu Hassan, deputy leader of the Izala Islamic sect, lives. The bomb exploded in the Angwan Rimi area at about 9:30 p.m., according to police.
An incident report obtained by Compass at the Angwar Rogo police station states that the bomb caused no death or injury but shattered the windows of a parked taxi.
The explosions occurred a week after five persons were killed in violence that broke out on July 26 between Muslims and Christians in the Angwan Rukuba area of Jos.
“Five people have been confirmed dead and 12 seriously injured,” said Capt. Charles Ekeocha, spokesman of the Special Task Force of a Special Military Operation in Jos to restore peace.
The Angwan Rukuba area became a hotbed of violence in Jos following multiple bomb explosions there last Christmas Eve. The bombs went off in three different locations in the area, killing over 100 Christians and injuring many others. Security agencies confirmed they were planted by members of the Boko Haram sect.
Emmanuel Dipo Ayeni, commissioner of police for Plateau state, called for calm over the explosions and said police were working hard to discover those responsible.