By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– Christian leaders in Nigeria expressed concerns Wednesday, August 14, over rising tensions after at least 50 civilians were killed and dozens more injured in a series of weekend attacks in north-eastern Nigeria by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
“We condemn in the strongest terms this unwarranted taking of human lives,” said Reverend Yunusa Nmadu who leads the Nigeria branch of advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worlwide (CSW).
“Our constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and it is particularly appalling that so many people were murdered in places of worship by a group that attributes religious motivations to such unjustifiable actions and purports to be working for the well-being of the people they have murdered,” he added in a statement obtained by BosNewsLife.
Twelve people were reported to have been killed when Boko Haram members dressed in military and police uniforms attacked Ngom,
a village between Mafa and Konduga Local Government Areas in Borno State, on Saturday 10 August.
The victims’ hands were tied behind their backs prior to their throats being slit, CSW quoted local sources as saying.
Nineteen people from surrounding villages were allegedly also murdered in a similar manner Sunday, August 11, but those reports could not immediately be independently verified, CSW added.
Also on August 11 Boko Haram gunmen were seen attacking the Konduga Central Mosque and adjoining mosques in Konduga Town during
early morning prayers, killing 46 worshippers and injuring at least 30 people, 26 of whom required hospital treatment.
Other members of the group petrol bombed and destroyed around 50 homes, according to CSW investigators.
“This was Boko Haram’s first large scale attack inside a mosque; the group had previously targeted individuals on their way to or from prayer,” CSW noted.
The attacks occurred despite the existence of states of emergency in Borno and Yobe States, and are thought to be in retaliation for a growth in vigilantism as local communities work “increasingly successfully with the security services to expose Boko Haram members and sympathizers,” CSW said.
Boko Haram, which means ‘Western Education is a Sin’ is reported to have murdered 45 villagers it accused of belonging to vigilante groups
or collaborating with the military during two separate attacks in Borno State in July.
The latest attacks occurred as Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video message in which he claimed responsibility for recent
violence in Borno and Yobe States and reportedly vowed it would continue until northern Nigeria was Islamised.
Claiming the sect was too strong for Nigeria and could now “comfortably confront” the United States, he also called on people to join the sect, shun democracy and western education, and embrace Islam and jihad.
“Forget about the constitution and accept Shari’a…and we shall continue to kill those who strive to stand against the will of Allah by opposing Shari’a,” he was quoted as saying.
Nmadu said his group had urged Nigeria’s federal government “to maintain extreme vigilance and to step up the process of protecting lives and properties in north eastern Nigeria.”
Boko Haram, which wants to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria, has ordered Christians to leave especially northern regions and
for its Islamic supporters to settle there.
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004).
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