By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– Police in northern Nigeria have detained suspected Islamic militants who allegedly killed a pentecostal pastor, his assistant, and at least 10 other people, BosNewsLife monitored Saturday, June 11.
“We have made 14 arrests of suspected members of the outlawed Boko Haram sect in connection with [the Tuesday, June 7] attacks,” Borno state police spokesman Lawal Abdullahi said in published remarks.
Pastor David Usman, 45, and church secretary Hamman Andrew of the ‘Church of Christ in Nigeria’ in the troubled city of Maiduguri were among the latest casualties in what local Christians called “an upsurge of Islamic militancy” in the area.
Evangelical Christians said the two men were shot and killed by members of the Boko Haram sect near an area of Maidugurim, known as Railway Quarters, where their church is based.
Hours earlier the gunmen also participated in blasts and attacks hours earlier that left at least ten people dead, police said. A Catholic church, which was also targeted in the attacks, has been badly shattered, according to witnesses.
Boko Haram, which seeks to impose Sharia, or ‘Islamic law, on northern Nigeria, has also been accused of several other killings which have targeted security officers, politicians and clerics, in the area over the last year.
Nigeria’s embattled president President Goodluck Jonathan said this week he would however back local government initiatives to open a dialog with the Islamists.
“There is nothing wrong if you want to negotiate with militia groups that carry weapons against the state,” he said adding “we did that … and we succeeded in the Niger Delta,” referring to the oil-rich south where militants once wreaked havoc in the oil sector.
But Reverend Titus Dama Pona of the Evangelical Church Winning All in Maiduguri said local Christians remain concerned about their future. He told reporters that Christians can no longer worship freely for “fear of becoming targets of these unprovoked attacks” by Muslim militants.