Islamist extremists brought Christmas carnage to churches across Nigeria and have threatened more bloodshed in the days to come.
In all there were five bomb blasts. The most deadly was at St Theresa’s Catholic church in Madalla on the outskirts of the capital Abuja.
It detonated outside the building during Christmas Mass bringing down part of the roof. The church was packed.
At least 27 people died and scores more were injured in this one attack alone. In the immediate aftermath authorities did not have enough ambulances to deal with the number of casualties.
The group Boko Haram claimed the five explosions. Loosely based on the Taliban it wants sharia law in Nigeria.
In the predominantly Muslim north, there was an explosion in Gadaka where residents said scores of people were injured, and two more blasts in Damaturu.
In Jos, an ethnically and religiously mixed town in the centre of Nigeria, a device exploded followed by a shooting spree during which a policeman was killed.
Last month the terrorists killed at least 65 people in a coordinated series of bombings on churches, mosques and police stations.
In recent days Nigerian security forces have made concerted assaults on Boko Haram in the north, leading to 68 deaths.