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Nigeria: Christmas attacks death toll rises to 42

By Yinka Ibukun
Associated Press / December 30, 2011
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LAGOS, Nigeria—Gunmen killed two civilians in a northeast Nigeria town plagued by attacks from a radical Muslim sect, an official said Friday, as a hospital official said one more person died from Christmas attacks blamed on the sect, raising the toll to 42.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Hassan Ifijeh Mohammed told The Associated Press that the attack occurred after Friday afternoon prayers in a market near a mosque in the city of Maiduguri. Mohammed said the gunmen wounded a third person.

He said authorities believe the incident could either be a robbery attempt or another attack by a feared radical sect known as Boko Haram which has carried out a series of attacks and assassinations in the area.

Also on Friday, a hospital official said one more person died of injuries after a Christmas Day blast that struck St. Theresa Catholic Church near Nigeria's capital, bringing the death toll from Christmas attacks to 42.

The official, who asked not to be named because he is not permitted to speak to the press, said the victim died late Thursday after Sunday's blast outside the church.

A spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency reported 37 deaths as of Thursday evening in the blast near Abuja.

Four more people were killed in other Christmas violence blamed on a radical Muslim sect that wants to impose Shariah law in Africa's most populous nation.

The Boko Haram sect claimed responsibility for the coordinated Christmas Day attacks launched across Africa's most populous nation.

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Associated Press writer Lekan Oyekanmi contributed to this report from Abuja.

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