YOLA, Nigeria Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Nigeria's militant sect Boko Haram has shot dead 12 persons during a church service in the northeastern city of Yola in Adamawa State.
An official of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that the Boko Haram men stormed a local assembly of the church at about 7:30 p.m. local time on Friday and shot dead 12 persons. Scores of others of the church sustained various degrees of injuries.
The attack came barely five hours after Inspector General of Police Hafiz Ringim assured Christians and southerners residing in the north of their safety, promising that the police would nip any possible attack on the people in the mud.
The church was holding a prayer when their assailants opened fire.
David Malomo, a Yola based journalist whose brother was killed in the attack, told Xinhua that his brother was delivering a sermon when the gunmen came.
"I'm still at the hospital now trying to sort out things so that I can take the corpse of my brother for burial," Maloo told Xinhua on Saturday morning.
Malomo said palpable fear enveloped Yola as residents feared the sect might have infiltrated the city.
"This is the first time the sect is launching such attack here and there are fears that more may still be coming in the days ahead especially with their threat to attack Christians in northern Nigeria," he added.
Yola, the capital of Adamawa State, is known as one of the northern states with large numbers of Christians.
The sect had previously given Christians living in the north of the West African country three days to leave the Muslim- dominated region.
There have been repeated clashes between Muslims mostly living in the north of Africa's most populous country and Christians whose majority is located in the south.
Boko Haram is apparently responding to the state of emergency declared by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who is also Christian.
The state of emergency was imposed in areas targeted by the Boko Haram sect, including Yobe, Borno, Plateau and Niger states. The president has also ordered the closure of sections of borders.
Boko Haram said afterwards that it got ready to fight government troops in those areas, while warning soldiers not to kill Muslims.