(ABUJA, Nigeria) — A pair of bomb attacks rocked Christmas Day church services in the central region of Nigeria, leaving at least 26 people dead, according to the BBC.
An estimated 25 people were killed in the first attack which struck a church in Madalla, not far from the Nigerian capital of Abuja. The initial number of fatalities was likely to rise, a spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency told the BBC.
Not long after the first attack, a second explosion near a church in Jos, northeast of the capital, killed at least one person.
Boko Haram, the same group that carried out attacks in Jos on Christmas Eve in 2010, reportedly claimed responsibility for at least one of Sunday’s bombings.
The office of White House spokesman Jay Carney issued the following statement Sunday condemning the attacks:
We condemn this senseless violence and tragic loss of life on Christmas Day. We offer our sincere condolences to the Nigerian people and especially those who lost family and loved ones. We have been in contact with Nigerian officials about what initially appear to be terrorist acts and pledge to assist them in bringing those responsible to justice.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Holly Yan, Chuck Johnston and David Williams, CNN
Claire Moran, CNN