A suicide bomber missed his intended target but killed at least 6 other people in Nigeria's northeastern city of Jalingo on Monday. The attack on a police convoy follows two fatal attacks on church worshippers.
Nigerian authorities say a senior police commissioner has survived an attack by a suicide bomber riding a motorcycle in Jalingo in the nation's northeast. At least six bystanders were killed as the assailant tried to target the officer's convoy.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Jalingo is the capital of Taraba state, which has a reputation for peaceful Christian-Muslim co-existence. It had largely been spared the insurgency blamed on the Islamist sect Boko Haram that has plagued other parts of Nigeria's mostly-Muslim north in recent years. The sect has often targeted police and government officials.
On Sunday, unidentified gunmen had attacked Roman Catholic worshippers on a university campus in the northern city of Kano, and also a church in northeast Maiduguri, killing at least 20 people.
In Jalingo, a police spokesman said commissioner Mamman Sule had been the "prime target" but he had survived the blast uninjured while being driven to his office in a convoy. The explosion wrecked a roadside market and blew out windows of an adjacent Ministry of Finance building. Among the dead were civil servants arriving for work.
The Nigerian Red Cross said 26 other people were injured.
Taraba state is a largely rural expanse that borders Cameroon.
Condemnation from the Vatican
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday condemned the attacks of recent days. He said the "terrorists" had shown that their objective was to "destabilize the nation and its vital institutions."
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi described Sunday's attacks as "terrible" and "despicable" and expressed the Catholic church's solidarity with the victims. The Vatican's top official for inter-religious dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, described attacks on worshippers as a "misdeed," adding "for believers, it's a sin."
Tauran urged political leaders to protect believers of all faiths but warned against revenge. "Violence only leads to more violence."
Last Thursday, suspected sect assailants used bombs to target newspaper offices in Abuja and Kaduna, killing at least seven people.
ipj/slk (dpa, AP, Reuter)