Nigerian leaders 'failed' to respond to bombings


Nigeria's main opposition leader accused the government of incompetence on Monday after Islamist militants killed more than two dozen people in Christmas Day attacks on churches and other targets.

Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner and former military ruler who lost a presidential election in April to the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian southerner, told a Nigerian daily that the government was slow to respond and had shown indifference to the bombings. The attacks, described by the country's top broadsheet daily Thisday as "Nigeria's blackest Christmas ever", risk reopening old wounds and reviving the tit-for-tat sectarian violence between the mostly Muslim north and largely Christian south which has claimed thousands of lives in the past decade.

"How on earth would the Vatican and the British authorities speak before the Nigerian government on attacks within Nigeria that have led to the deaths of our citizens?" Mr Buhari said. "This is a failure of leadership."

The Boko Haram Islamist sect claimed responsibility for three church bombings. The most deadly attack killed at least 27 people in the St Theresa's Catholic church in Madalla, near Abuja.