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Nigeria fears increase in sectarian violence

world Updated: Dec 28, 2011 01:30 IST

Fears of ethnic and sectarian conflict have gripped Nigeria after a wave of Christmas blasts blamed on a radical Islamist sect killed at least 40, including worshippers who were left begging for mercy as they exited a church.

Northern branch of an umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria expressed fears that the Christmas Day bombing of churches by Boko Haram militants may spark a religious war.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in northern states of the country said the bombing of churches in Madalla, Niger State, Jos, Plateau State and related attacks in Damaturu in Yobe State may lead to clashes between Christians and Muslims in the oil rich African nation if it was not halted immediately. Saidu Dogo, Secretary General of (CAN) in the 19 Northern states and capital territory, Abuja, urged Islamic leaders to take steps to to avert an ethnic and religious conflict.

Four arrested
Nigeria's military arrested four suspects for the carnage that targeted churches in the restive north. The arrests were made at Mountain of Fire and Miracle church in Jos where a bomb killed a police officer on duty and injured several worshippers.