Asake said he suspects Boko Haram is behind the attack, and urged the government to provide security in congested areas - especially where locals work.
The Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students confirmed the death of seven Christian students who were killed in a bus that was in the same area of the first explosion. The students had just finished their medical school lectures and were returning to their hostels.
‘‘My daughter went for lectures as usual," said Humphey Nwafor, whose daughter, Francisca, 20 and a Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students leader, was killed in the attack. "After the bomb blast, I started searching in most of the hospitals but I couldn’t find her until yesterday morning [May 21]. I saw her body at the university teaching hospital mortuary’’.
Another victim of the attack, Christopher, lost three of his family members, he told World Watch Monitor.
‘‘My wife went to the market to buy some food. After the market, she went to visit her uncle in a nearby hospital," said Christopher, whose last name is being withheld for security reasons. "She was walking along the market, just after her visit when the bomb exploded, killing her and our 5-month-old baby girl, and also her sister who was with her’’.
‘‘We don’t know the real intention of the attackers. But from all indications, I think it is a religious issue, because if those who are behind the attack have some problem with the government, they should have attacked the government, instead of targeting people who have nothing to do with politics,’’ he said.
Hours after the bombings, rumours circulated across the city that Christian youths were planning to attack Muslims in revenge. This prompted appeals for calm from religious leaders.
‘’It is sad that Plateau is back on the news again after a long period of silence and peaceful co-existence, businesses are flourishing … and Plateau is speedily becoming a centre of peace and tourism," Rev. Soja Bewarang told World Watch Monitor. ‘‘Our enemies are not happy that we are at peace … our hearts are sorrowful as a result of (the) sudden death of key Plateau patriots and while as a country we are mourning the abduction of over 200 school girls at Chibok."
Since the attack, a number of Christian campus-based groups have engaged in dialogue with leading Muslim youth groups to reflect on the situation and promote a peaceful co-existence.
‘‘We resolved to go to our respective areas and try to stop anybody from organising revenge actions as a result of the bomb blast. We resolved to encourage people to live in peace and to rather show sympathy with those who have lost their loved ones and support them in whatever ways we can rather than [harbouring] anger, revenge and bitterness,’’ Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam, regional secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, told World Watch Monitor.
Some students are donating blood for the surviving victims.
Religious tensions in Central Nigeria, especially in Plateau State, have also been aggravated by economic struggles over access to natural resources between the native Berom, who are mainly farmers, and the Fulani herdsmen who migrated from the far north of Nigeria.
A history of Boko Haram’s religiously motivated violence in Jos