SaharaReporters has learnt that a lone suicide bomber driving an Opel Vectra rammed into the gates of St. John's Catholic Cathedral in the Batyan Gari area of Bauchi, instantly killing at least 6 persons. In addition, one source disclosed that some 50 people were injured in the brazen attack that took place during an early morning mass.
Eyewitnesses told SaharaReporters that the attacker detonated the explosively rigged car outside the church premises shortly after 9 a.m. (Nigerian time). The Opel Vectra model is widely used as taxi cabs in Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi State.
Soon after the bombing, Nigerian troops arrived and cordoned off the scene of the attack, preventing reporters from gaining access to it. An emergency official who participated in search and rescue operations said he counted six dead bodies. But he also indicated that many of the injuries were so severe that he expected the number of the dead to increase sharply.
The bombing bore the signature of the extremist Islamist group, Boko Haram. Based in northern Nigeria, the group had been responsible for several previous attacks on worshippers in various parts of the North, including Abuja, Kaduna, Madalla and Zaria. However, no group had claimed responsibility for the attack as at the time of going to press.