By BosNewsLife Africa Service with BosNewsLife’s Paul Jongas in Nigeria
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– Suspected Islamic militants have opened fire on an evangelical church service in a remote village in northeastern Nigeria, killing nine people, BosNewsLife learned Tuesday, June 3.
Witnesses said Christians jumped through windows to escape Sunday’s attack on the ‘Church of Brethern in Nigeria’ congregation in Attangara in the Gwoza hills.
The area is the main stronghold of Boko Haram, the militant group that has launched a bloody campaign to establish an Islamist state.
“As we were holding service, we started hearing gunshots and everybody fled, some through the windows, and ran into bush,” resident Matha Yohana said of Sunday’s attack. Police nine were killed in the assaults.
Besides attacking the congregation, Boko Haram fighters were also blamed by resident for attacks on other towns in the Gwoza hills, including in Gwoshe where they were seen burning down many houses, shops and two churches, Nigerian media reported.
Elsewhere in the region, government troops reportedly repelled an ambush in Buratai community in Biu town, killing four suspected Boko Haram
fighters and capturing one alive.
And in Kawuri village, in the Konduga Local Government area, government forces killed five militants in a shootout, before capturing AK 47 rifles and two vehicles used by the gunmen, Nigerian media said.
The reported assaults came amid reports while a blast, that Nigeria’s army said was caused by a car bomb, killed 18 people watching football on television in Kabang town in northeastern Adamawa state – another Boko Haram stronghold.
Boko Haram, which means ‘Western education is sinful’ has killed thousands since it started its campaign in 2009. The group made world headlines in April when it abducted more than 200 Christian schoolgirls in another part of Borno state, forcing them to convert to Islam.
Some of them have since escaped.
The mass kidnapping has added to political pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, who on Thursday ordered “a full-scale operation” against the militants.
He has accepted help from the United States and other foreign powers to try to free the abducted girls.
Boko Haram has attacked churches and other institutions deemed dangerous for its interpretation of Islam, and has ordered Christians to leave northern regions of what is Africa’s largest oil-producing nation.