A suicide car bomber has killed at least three people in an attack on a major church in central Nigeria, church officials say.
The bomber hit the main headquarters of the Church of Christ in the central city of Jos, the capital of Plateau state, on Sunday after driving a car laden with explosives into the church, the officials said.
The bomber is believed to have died in the attack.
"We were in the church during the time of worship and a suicide bomber forced himself into through the gate, into the church and the bomb exploded," John Haruna, the reverend of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), told the AFP news agency.
Another church member, who is also an activist with the Christian human rights organisation Stefanos Foundation, gave a similar account.
"It was suicide bomber, he drove his car into the church, approaching the pulpit and it exploded. Three members of the church died and 10 are injured," Mark Lipdo said.
He said pieces of human flesh littered the church premises.
Earlier, Pam Ayuba, spokesman for Plateau state, said the attack happened during the church's early service, which was packed with worshippers. He did not give details about the number of people injured.
Military and police officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
Jos has experienced hundreds of deaths in ethnic and religious violence in recent years. It also has been targeted by a radical Islamist group known as Boko Haram.
Sunday's attack came days after at least 19 people were killed after suspected Boko Haram attackers carried out several attacks in the cities of Gombe and Kano, authorities say.
Orubebe Ghandi Ebikeme, the local police commissioner in Gombe, said that the police headquarters in the provincial capital had been targeted in the attack late on Friday evening.
No group claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack, but previous blasts have been blamed on Boko Haram.
The group is waging an increasingly violent campaign against Nigeria's weak central government in its quest to enact Islamic law, free its detained members and avenge Muslim deaths in the nation.
Boko Haram opposes Western education and lifestyle in Africa's most populous nation, which is divided between the predominantly Muslim north and the mainly Christian south.
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|William A. Cook|