By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– Twelve Christians have been “brutally murdered” in northern Nigeria by suspected militants of Boko Haram group as part of its campaign to establish an Islamic state, rights investigators told BosNewsLife Tuesday, December 31.
The Christians were reportedly 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 pre-wedding celebration were killed when militants connected with Boko Haram opened fire on Christians, said religious rights group International Christian Concern (ICC).
On Sunday, December 29, suspected militants killed four more Christians when they attacked the neighboring village of Kwajffa, Christians said. “Security officials have confirmed the attacks took place but have yet to confirm casualty figures,” ICC added.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, William Stark, told BosNewsLife that he wasn’t surprised about the latest violence. “Christians living in Nigeria’s northern regions continue to be the target of some of Boko Haram’s most brutal attacks,” he said.
CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY TERRORIZED
“These attacks are meant to terrorize the Christian community that continues to live in northern Nigeria,” Stark added.
He urged the United States to take action as it “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.”
Yet, “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,” Stark said.
“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.”
“WAR AGAINST CHRISTIANS”
In published remarks, local 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, which translates as ‘Western education is a sin’, has been fighting the Nigerian government for control of northern Nigerian states where it seeks to establish a separate Islamic state to enact an ultra conservative interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic, law.
Since beginning its armed insurgency in 2009, Boko Haram has been linked to attacks that killed thousands of people in Nigeria, often targeting churches and individual Christians for some of what ICC called “the most brutal acts of violence.”
In early 2012, Boko Haram leaders demanded all Christians to leave northern Nigeria as part of its efforts to establish a purely Islamic society. “Since then, Boko Haram has perpetrated church bombings, drive-by shootings and Christian pogroms across northern Nigeria,” ICC said.