Church blast prompts retaliation attacks

March 13, 2012 at 7:59 AM

JOS, Nigeria, March 13 (UPI) -- The death toll has risen to 19 for reprisal attacks and the deadly suicide bombing of a Catholic church in Jos, Nigeria, officials said.

In the latest incident, youths numbering in the hundreds fought one another and attacked innocent passersby in various areas of the Plateau state capital, the Nigerian Tribune in Ibadan reported Tuesday.

Scores of people were injured before a special task force arrived and broke up the melee.

The chief medical examiner for Jos University Teaching Hospital confirmed seven more corpses were received Monday, bringing the death toll for the church bombing and retaliation attacks to 19.

Boko Haram, which wants Shariah [Islamic religious] law in Nigeria, has claimed responsibility for the church bombing, saying it was revenge for the "killing and dehumanization of Muslims."

Both Christian and Muslims groups in Nigeria have condemned the church attack, The Guardian newspaper in Oshodi reported.

The Arewa Consultative Forum and northern leaders have called on Nigerians of all religions and ethnic groups to "deny the enemy the pleasure of knocking our heads and unleashing religious conflict" in Nigeria.

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