Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Three female church members died when suicide bombers rammed their explosive-laden vehicle into the headquarters of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) during service on Sunday in Jos, capital of Nigeria's central Plateau state, the local media reported, quoting Dr. Samuel Ibrahim of the Plateau Specialist Hospital.
The doctor also said 25 persons were admitted in the hospital for varying degrees of injuries, mostly burns.
The overall death toll could rise since the figures given were from one hospital alone, while those injured in the morning blast were taken to several other hospitals in the city, including the Sauki Hospital, Bingham University Teaching Hospital and the Jos University teaching Hospital.
The Plateau State Police Commissioner, Emmanuel Ayeni said he could not yet give a definite figure of those who died or were injured.
Also, Mr. Manaseh Pampe, Chairman, Plateau Chapter of the Red Cross, whose members were seen evacuating some of the casualties, said that he was not sure of the figures of those killed or injured.
According to the reports, the suicide bombers who were dressed in army uniform tricked the soldiers deployed to provide security at the church by pretending to stop at the checkpoint, only to force their way into the church premises and detonate the explosive in their vehicle.
''The vehicle came from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) junction and when the soldiers wanted to search the car, the occupants said they should be allowed to park after the check-point before being searched. The soldiers allowed them but when the Church security insisted on checking, the bombers pretended as if they were going to stop, but zoomed off into the Church compound as service was on going.
"The bombers were in a hurry as if the timing of the explosive had almost reached,” the report quoted an eyewitness as saying.
''Shortly afterwards the vehicle exploded and the impact of the blast damaged 37 vehicles parked in the church premises," the eyewitness said.
COCIN President, Rev. Soja Bewarang, who wept uncontrollably at the scene, condemned the attack and blamed the soldiers who were on duty for lapses.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic sect Boko Haram has previously targeted churches.
In the worst of such attacks, 44 people were killed on the last Christmas Day when a Catholic church was bombed in Madalla, near the Nigerian capital city of Abuja.
-0- PANA SEG/VAO 26Feb2012