By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– At least 160 have died in terrorist related violence this week in Nigeria’s Yobe and Borno States, following other deadly anti-Christian attacks across the troubled African nation, activists and other sources said.
In one of the latest known attacks, fighters of the Islamic Boko Haram group armed with Kalashnikov rifles, rocket launchers and homemade explosives reportedly raided Yadi Buni Town in Yobe State on September 18, setting fire to a makeshift police station, telecommunications masts, parts of the local government headquarters and the home of the divisional police head, whose wife was burnt to death inside the building.
The son of the Yobe Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) youth leader is also said to have been killed, while one soldier and nine sect members died in an ensuing shoot-out.
Earlier on September 17, some 143 commuters were killed and several abducted when well-armed Boko Haram gunmen in military fatigues and bullet-proof vests ambushed vehicles along the busy Maiduguri to Damaturu Express Way in the early evening, said Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), an advocacy group investigating the situation.
Travelers were reportedly asked to produce their identity papers, then were lined up and shot. One survivor was quoted as saying that people from the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, were singled out for execution.
The gunmen went on to overrun Benisheik Town, 75 kilometers (44 miles) west of Maiduguri, killing around 14 people and torching over 100 homes, businesses and vehicles, CSW said.
It quoted one one report as saying that most of the dead were members or otherwise associated with the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) in charge of fighting militants, and were beheaded.
Three policemen and two soldiers were also reported to have died in what were seen as reprisal attacks by Boko Haram against those opposing them.
“Reprisal attacks by Boko Haram on vigilantes, their families and communities are becoming more regular, and are increasingly taking the form of collective punishments. At least 50 of over 160 people murdered by the sect in August were vigilantes,” CSW said.
Also on September 17, army authorities disclosed that 15 soldiers and a lieutenant had been killed by Boko Haram along the Baga-Maiduguri Road in Borno State, although this figure has been disputed by anonymous local defense sources who claim at least 40 soldiers were killed and 65 others are missing following an ambush.
The army said 150 Boko Haram members were killed by troops over the previous weekend in a battle in Kafiya Forest in Borno that claimed the life of the group’s key commander Abba Goroma.
Boko Haram, or ‘Western education is a sin’, is fighting for an independent Islamic state and has made clear that Christians should leave northern regions.
It has also added to an atmosphere of hatred towards Christians among Muslims elsewhere in the country, BosNewsLife monitored.
In the latest night raids by Muslim herdsmen and soldiers in Plateau state, for instance, a Christian and his two teenage sons were were killed and his wife wounded, Christian leaders said.
Ethnic Fulani herdsmen and soldiers on September 3 reportedly raided Gura Dabwam village, near Jos in Gyel District, killing 42-year-old Dauda Dalyop, Bitrus Dauda Dalyop, 17, and Daniel Dauda Dalyop, 15, according to Musa Pam, an uncle of the slain father.
WIFE, BOY, SURVIVE
Dalyop’s wife, Kangyang Dauda Dalyop, 35, was reportedly in critical condition at Plateau State Specialist Hospital, but a 5-year-old boy survived the attack unhurt.
There have also been several other deadly raids in villages in which several Christians died, BosNewsLife reported earlier.
CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas told BosNewsLife that the federal government should allocate “sufficient troops to these states to address this issue.”
The government “must also disrupt Boko Haram’s sources of funding as a matter of urgency, and will need the assistance of neighboring states and the rest of the international community in order to do so effectively,” he said.
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004).
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