By Paul Jongas, BosNewsLife Special Correspondent reporting from Nigeria
GOMBE, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– Christians in northeastern Nigeria were lucky to be alive after suspected Islamic militants attacked the Catholic church where they were worshiping, injuring at least two police men and several others.
Witnesses told BosNewsLife that at least two gunmen, believed to be fighters of Islamic group Boko Haram, attacked the Kagarawal Catholic Church in Gombe, the capital of Gombe state.
“The gun men came on a motor cycle and opened fire on the police men guarding the worshipers, but the police men retaliated,” said a witness, who was not named amid security concerns.
“In the process of the fire exchange, they [the militants] injured two police men and some civilians.” No deaths were reported.
There was no immediate statement from Boko Haram, which means ‘Western education is a sin’, but it claimed previous attacks against churches.
Sunday’s attack came amid reports that Nigerian security forces killed 20 Boko Haram members in Maiduguri, the capital of the country’s northeastern Borno state.
There has been growing pressure on Nigerian authorities to protect Christians in Islamic areas of Nigeria.
Boko Haram, which seeks to establish an Islamic state, has ordered Christians to leave especially the northern areas of the African nation.
It has killed hundreds, including many Christians this year alone, in an insurgency against President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
In one of the more deadlier attacks last week, suspected Boko Haram members killed 19 people when they opened fire before a Bible study began at the Deeper Life evangelical church in Otite, a quiet neighborhood, 250 kilometers (155 miles) southwest of Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
Separately, 57-year-old evangelist Ali Samari was killed late Tuesday, August 8, after he returned from work for the Good News Church in Maiduguri, in north-eastern Borno State.
He was a colleague of a BosNewsLife correspondent, who also works as en evangelist.
(With editing by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos)