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Easter bomb attack near Nigeria church

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A car bomb blast outside a church in northern Nigeria on Easter Sunday killed at least 20 people and put the country on alert over fears of further attacks, rescue officials and residents said.

The explosion, a stark reminder of Christmas Day attacks that left dozens of people dead in Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer, hit the city of Kaduna, a major cultural and economic centre in the north.

Motorcycle taxi drivers and passers-by caught much of the blast.

As news of the attack spread, security forces boosted patrols in key areas, including in the capital Abuja, where soldiers were sent to reinforce police posted near churches, an AFP correspondent reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

At least one car said to be driven by a suicide bomber was involved in the Kaduna attack, but a rescue official speaking on condition of anonymity said two vehicles packed with explosives detonated.

“Now we have 20 dead from the twin explosions,” the rescue official, who was not authorised to speak publicly, told AFP. Officials were still counting the number of wounded, he added.

“Bombs concealed in two cars went off just opposite this church,” he said.

A police officer at the scene said a man believed to be a suicide bomber driving a car was stopped at a checkpoint near the church and turned back, but drove to a nearby area close to a hotel and detonated the bomb.

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