The West pays too little attention to the threat of Boko Haram, according to the Catholic Archbishop of Jos, and it needs to show the kind of resolve the international community has shown over the attacks in Paris.
Ignatius Kaigama was speaking to the BBCafter the most recent Boko Haram attacks including 23 people killed by female suicide bombers – one aged only 10 – in the northeast city of Maiduguri on 10 January, and the recent slaughter in Baga where 2000 are feared dead. He also said that the Nigerian military is unable to tackle the Islamist militant group.
The Archbishop’s concern about the failure of the Nigerian Army echoes statements made to World Watch Monitor in October 2014. After an ill-founded announcement by the Nigerian government that it had reached a truce with Boko Haram, Rev. Samuel Dali, President of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, said he wanted to see practical action, ‘not just a statement on the news’.
Stephen Davies, an Australian mediator, who has tried to secure the release of the kidnapped Chibok girls concluded after his failed mission in October 2014 that the cause of Nigeria’s failure to control Boko Haram could be partly found inside the government itself.
Boko Haram militants invaded Kautikari, Kwada and Nguragila villages near Chibok in Borno State, killing at least 56 people and razing numerous homes.
According to SaharaReporters they learned that the militants, dressed in military camouflage, stormed the three villages from 8:45 a.m. when many Christians were at Sunday services. One source said the militants arrived in the villages in a convoy of sports utility vehicles and unleashed terror on villagers for several hours. Their killing spree reportedly lasted till 12:30 p.m.
Ibrahim Musa, a resident of Kautikari village, told our correspondent that the attackers “locked worshipers inside the EYN Church and sprayed bullets on them.” He disclosed that the terrorist group killed nine worshipers and later set the church ablaze.
Mr. Musa said the Islamist terrorists killed 38 people in Kwada village and nine in Nguragila village. He added that the attackers set fire to the EYN Church, the Deeper Life Church, and the Church of Christ In Nations (COCIN). In addition, the terrorists burned numerous homes.
Manaseh Allen, a Chibok-based youth leader, also confirmed today’s coordinated attacks on the three villages. “There is confusion everywhere in the Chibok area,” he said, adding, “If the attackers could succeed in day time, what if they come in the night?” He urged the federal government to redouble its commitment to combating terrorism.
He remarked that the three besieged villages are between 10 and 15 kilometers from Chibok, the location where Boko Haram militants seized more than 300 schoolgirls on April 14. More than 200 of the schoolgirls are yet to be rescued.
Boko Haram has released a video of about 100 of the Nigerian kidnapped schoolgirls wearing full head scarves and reciting the Quran. The 17-minute video was shot an at unknown location and features leader Abubakar Shekau proposing a deal: the return of the girls for the release of imprisoned militants.
According to CNN, the Boko Haram leader claimed that the Christian girls have been converted to Islam. They chant in the background, “Praise by to Allah, the lord of the world.”
Experts continue to search Nigeria and the surrounding countries for the abducted young women. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan sent two military troops to search and reportedly feels confident about the girls’ return. The U.S. has sent military forces to aid in the search as well.
About 200 girls were captured on April 14 from their Chibok school while taking exams. In the weeks since, the kidnapping sparked global outrage as people demanded the militant group return the young women to their homes and families.
Reports from Yobe State indicate that about 29 students of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, were killed on Monday night while they slept in their dormitories.
The spokesperson of the Joint Task Force, JTF, in the state, Lazarus Eli, confirmed the attack to Aljazeera network. He however did not give the exact number of casualties.
Mr. Eli said the gunmen “opened fire on student hostels.”
He said details are still sketchy due to lack of telephone access and it is still not clear how many students were affected in the attack.
The outlawed Boko Haram sect is suspected to be behind the attack which took place around 2 a.m.
The sect had carried out a similar attack in Yobe last September killing over 40 students at the College of Agriculture, Gujba.
Also, earlier in July last year, Boko Haram carried out an overnight attack on students of Government Secondary School, Mumoda, killing over 40 students.
Mr. Eli said the military has already dispatched a team to Buni Yadi to track and apprehend the killers.
Yobe, like Borno and Adamawa, has been under emergency rule since May 2013 as the military tries to dislodge the Boko Haram insurgents. Despite the emergency rule, hundreds of people have been killed in different attacks in the affected states.
According to CNN Dozens of residents in northeastern Nigeria have been killed in two separate attacks launched by Boko Haram Islamists, according to officials and residents.
Scored of Islamist insurgents dressed in military uniforms stormed the Christian farming village of Izghe, in Borno state, late Saturday and opened sporadic fire on residents, killing at least 106 people in an attack specifically targeted at male residents.
The gunmen, who arrived in the village riding in trucks and on several motorcycles, opened fire and hacked male residents they had assembled in the village square. They moved door to door in search of male residents who were hiding.
The attack prompted an exodus of hundreds of panic-stricken residents of nearby villages to the neighboring Madagali district in Adamawa state.
“We suspect that the gunmen were members of Boko Haram. They have taken over the village,” said Madagali local government chairman, Maina Ularamu..
The attackers looted businesses and food stores “and loaded all their spoils into vehicles owned by residents and fled into the bush,” said Ularamu.
A survivor of the attack, farmer Barnabas Idi, said he scaled the fence of his house and crawled for about 40 minutes to safety. Idi said that security agents were not present during the attack.
In the second attack early Saturday, suspected Boko Haram gunmen opened fire on Doron Baga, a fishing village along Lake Chad.
“They opened fire from all directions, forcing residents to jump into the lake in a bid to escape, and many drowned while others were gunned down,” said Babagana Gwoni, a survivor of the attack.
The gunmen looted fish and foodstuffs before setting houses on fire, Gwoni said.
Lt. Col. Mohammed Dole, a military spokesman, confirmed the Doron Baga attack but declined to give details.
“We received report of the attack on Doron Baga, but we don’t have details because the area falls under the operational jurisdiction of the Multinational Joint Task Force,” Dole said.
The Multinational Joint task Force comprises troops from Nigeria, Niger and Chad and was set up in 1998 primarily to fight light weapons proliferation. Its mandate has been expanded to include combating the Boko Haram insurgency.
Nigerian-Americans have welcomed Barack Obama’s pledge to help stop terror against Nigerian churches.
The US President used his speech at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC to speak up for religious freedom around the world and reiterate his determination to stamp out terrorism.
He also restated the resolve of the US government to support the Nigerian people in the ongoing effort to end terrorism.
“I’ve pledged our support to the people of Nigeria, who deserve to worship in their churches and mosques in peace, free from terror,” Obama said.
The US State Department recently designated Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organisation. The Islamist militant group has waged a campaign of violence and death against government institutions and churches, killing thousands. Targets have also included Muslims who have opposed them.
There have been news reports that the US military are going to train Nigerian forces in the effort to properly combat terror groups in the country and in the West African region.
Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, CANAN, welcomed the continued focus of the US government and the support of President Obama against Boko Haram.
“It is our hope and expectation that with the active support of the US government, including through the implementation of the FTO designation of the terror groups, Nigerian Christians and others would heave a huge sigh of relief from the brutal and ruthless violence that is being perpetrated by extreme Jihadist fundamentalists and terrorists,” the group said.
“We call for greater and increasing support from the US government especially in the area of going after terror king pins within the context of the FTO, and also supporting the ongoing operations of the Nigerian military to end the carnage in northeastern Nigeria.”
In addition to condemning terrorism, Obama said in his speech it was “clear that around the world freedom of religion is under threat”.
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that twelve Christians were brutally murdered by suspected Boko Haram militants in northern Nigeria over the weekend. According to reports, these Christians were killed in two attacks on separate Christian villages in Nigeria’s Muslim majority state of Borno.
The first attack took place on Saturday, December 28, in the Christian village of Tashan-Alede where eight people attending a wedding celebration were killed when militants connected with Boko Haram opened fire on the Christians gathered. According to the Christian Broadcasting Network, “One attack took place at a pre-wedding bachelor party. Suspected fighters from Boko Haram opened fire on the group, killing eight people.”
On December 29, the day after the attack on Tashan-Alede, suspected militants killed four more Christians when they attacked the neighboring village of Kwajffa. Security officials have confirmed the attacks took place but have yet to confirm casualty figures.
In an interview with The Associated Press, schoolteacher Yohana Jafa noted that the attacks on minority Christian villages in the predominantly Muslim region came hours after the leader of the Boko Haram terrorist network, Abubakar Shekau, “clearly stated that his war is against Christians.”
Boko Haram is an Islamic terrorist network group currently fighting the Nigerian government for control of northern Nigeria. Boko Haram desires to establish a separate Islamic state in Nigeria’s northern states where it can enact an ultra conservative interpretation of Sharia law. Since beginning its armed insurgency in 2009, Boko Haram has killed over thousands of people in Nigeria often targeting Christians for some of the most brutal acts of violence. In early 2012, Boko Haram leaders demanded all Christians to leave northern Nigeria so that the group could begin establishing its purely Islamic society. Since then, Boko Haram has perpetrated church bombings, drive-by shootings and Christian pogroms across northern Nigeria.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, William Stark, said, “Christians living in Nigeria’s northern regions continue to be the target of some of Boko Haram’s most brutal attacks. These attacks are meant to terrorize the Christian community that continues to live in northern Nigeria. The United States has designated Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization, which allows the U.S. to seize Boko Haram’s assets under U.S. jurisdiction and to take more direct action against the terrorist network. Unfortunately, actions like this have yet to be taken. This would help stem the flow of arms and funds the group receives from sources outside Nigeria’s borders. The consistency of Boko Haram’s attacks on Christians and government institutions has shown that Nigeria’s government is struggling to deal with the violence that has dominated its northern states since 2009. The international community must take decisive action.”
Courtesy International Christian Concern (www.persecution.org).