MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – Dozens of armed men attacked the church, dragging the pastor out of his home and shooting him to death. Two young men from the choir rehearsing for a late-night carol service also were slain.

The group of about 30 attackers, armed with guns and knives, even killed two people passing by Victory Baptist Church. The assailants left only after setting the church and pastor’s house ablaze.

Danjuma Akawu, the church’s secretary, managed to escape after he and others climbed over the church’s fence.

“I cannot understand these attacks,” Akawu said. “Why Christians? Why Christians? The police have failed to protect us.”

At the opposite end of the city, the Rev. Haskanda Jessu said that three men attacked the Church of Christ in Nigeria an hour later, killing a 60-year-old security guard.

At least 38 people died in Christmas Eve attacks across Nigeria, including the six killed at churches in the country’s north by suspected members of a radical Muslim sect. In central Nigeria, 32 died in a series of bomb blasts in the worst violence to hit the region in months.

Authorities have not identified suspects following the Christmas Eve explosions in Jos, and it was not immediately clear if those attacks had a religious motive. Two of the bombs went off near a large market where people were doing last-minute Christmas shopping. A third hit a mainly Christian area of Jos, while the fourth was near a road that leads to the city’s main mosque.

On Sunday, there were reports of renewed violence in the area, though no official figures were released on the number of people who may have been wounded or killed.

Police have not said whether the bombings were related to the church attacks. The two areas are about 320 miles apart.

The group blamed for the church attacks — the radical Muslim sect known as Boko Haram — used to be based in Bauchi, about 75 miles from the area where the bombs went off. The group is now headquartered in Maiduguri, where the church attacks took place.

The African Union Commission’s chairman, Jean Ping, expressed shock and sadness at the violence.

“He condemns in the strongest terms these cowardly terrorist attacks, which cannot be justified under any circumstances,” said a statement released by his office Sunday.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed his sympathy to the victims’ families and said the government will bring the perpetrators to justice.

“I assure Nigerians that government will go to the root of this,” he said of the explosions. “We must unearth what caused it, and those behind it must be brought to book.”

Religious violence has left more than 500 people dead this year in Jos and neighboring towns and villages, but before the weekend bombings, the situation was believed to have calmed down. The explosions Friday were the first major attack in Jos since the state government lifted a curfew in May.

The curfew had been imposed in November 2008 during postelection violence and was extended in January following clashes between Christian and Muslim groups. More than 300 people — mostly Muslims — were killed in the January violence in Jos and surrounding villages.

Nigeria, a country of 150 million people, is almost evenly split between Muslims in the north and the predominantly Christian south.