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Suicide Bomber Strikes Near Nigerian Church

A suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up at the gates of a church in northeastern Nigeria, injuring several people and disrupting a New Year's Day service in northeast Nigeria, said an official for Nigeria's Red Cross. No one was killed.

Abubakar Yakubu, who heads the aid group in Gombe, said a New Year’s Day worship at an evangelical church was going on when the attacker rode up on a motorcycle. He was stopped by church guards and blew himself up, injuring as many as eight people, Yakubu said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but northeast Nigeria has seen a relentless string of attacks blamed on Boko Haram militants.

It was the second attack in two days in the state capital Gombe and the fourth attack in two months.

On Wednesday, a female suicide bomber was killed as she tried to enter a military barracks in Gombe.

Seven others also died in a bus explosion in a village close to Potiskum, in Yobe State on Wednesday.

On Dec. 22 two explosions in northern Nigeria -- one of them in Gombe -- killed at least 20 people.

'We will not forget'

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who has received international criticism for failing to stop the rebels, promised on Thursday to re-equip and re-position the armed forces "to enhance their capacity to win the ongoing war against terror and insurgency."

"We will bring justice to the savage terrorists known as Boko Haram. They will be defeated," he told the French news agency, AFP. "We will not forget. We will not look the other way."

Jonathan, who is up for re-election in February, has made similar promises before, yet the violence has continued.

Sunni jihadist group Boko Haram, waging an insurgency to establish an Islamist caliphate in the region, is mainly focused on the three northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, but frequently set off bombs in other states targeting civilians.

Violence by Boko Haram has killed 10,340 people so far this year, according to a count by the Council on Foreign Relations last month.

The five-year-old insurgency has also displaced more than a million people from the remote northeast. It is considered the gravest threat to the stability of Africa's biggest economy and top oil producer - and its neighbors.

Material for this article came from Reuters and AFP.