Burning car outside St Theresa Catholic Church at Madalla outside Abuja (25 Dec 2012)
A attack on a church outside Abuja killed 37 people
on Christmas Day.

Nigeria has been hit by a fresh wave of violence apparently targeting the country’s Christian communities.

At least 17 people were killed in Mubi in Adamawa state as gunmen opened fire in a town hall where members of the Christian Igbo group were meeting.

There were also reports of a deadly attack in Adamawa’s capital, Yola.

The Islamist Boko Haram group said it had carried out the attack in Mubi and another in Gombe on Thursday night in which at least six people died.

The group has staged numerous attacks in northern and central areas in recent months – on Christmas Day it attacked a church near the capital, Abuja, killing dozens of people.

One Boko Haram faction has warned all southerners – who are mostly Christian and animist – to leave the mainly Muslim north of Nigeria.

Adamawa state borders Borno state, where Boko Haram emerged.

Last week President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Yobe and Borno states, as well as Plateau state in central Nigeria and Niger state in the west, following a surge in ethnic and sectarian violence.

But the pace of attacks has increased and he must now consider whether to extend the state of emergency into other states and beef up the military presence in the north in response, says the BBC’s Mark Lobel in Lagos.

Meanwhile, the government is also facing the bleak prospect of a general strike in two days’ time amid popular fury over its removal of a fuel subsidy which has seen fuel prices double for ordinary Nigerians.

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