Bomb blast at Nigerian Catholic church

Monday 12 March 2012 11.31
Numerous casualties after Jos bomb blast
Numerous casualties after Jos bomb blast

A suspected suicide attack hit a catholic church in the central Nigerian city of Josy, killing three people.

Islamist sect Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a wave of bomb attacks on churches across Nigeria since Christmas Day.

The bombing campaign has raised fears that the group is trying to ignite sectarian conflict in Nigeria, which is split roughly evenly between Christians and Muslims.

Up to 10 people were reported dead in retaliatory attacks against Muslims.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is forbidden," wants Sharia law more widely applied across Nigeria.

The sect has been waging an insurgency against Nigeria's government since 2009, and has been blamed for hundreds of killings in gun and bomb attacks.

On 26 February a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a church in Jos, killing two people and wounding 38. Christian youths beat two Muslims to death in revenge.

Styled on the Taliban, it has become increasingly sophisticated and deadly in its methods in the past six months and widened its targets beyond attacks on police and other authority figures to include Christians.