By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– Nigeria’s military killed at least 27 militants of Islamic group Boko Haram who are linked to the massacre of dozens of Christians in recent weeks, officials said Thursday, December 10.
The Nigerian Defence Ministry said in published remarks that “Motorcycles, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and bows and arrows were recovered from the fleeing terrorists” in Borno state.
It came amid mounting pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan to improve security of Christians living in the region, where dozens of believers have been killed, Christian girls kidnapped, and churches torched to the ground in recent weeks.
In one of the latest known incidents, Boko Haram militants killed 11 people and kidnapped 20 females–mostly children– in an effort to establish an Islamic caliphate in the predominantly Christian city of Lassa in Borno State.
Christians said fighters stormed the town on November 29 but were initially repelled. However they returned December 3 with tanks and explosives, destroying church buildings and homes.
Daniel Ibrahim, a Lassa resident who fled the attacks, said many of those killed were elderly, and those abducted were young girls.”They [Boko Haram] abducted more than 20 girls from our town and killed many people, mostly old men and women,” he said.
Ibrahim claimed that the fighters “burnt almost half of the town before they left.”
He said some Christians like himself were able to escape. “But they massacred aged ones and younger men they could catch.”
Elsewhere in Borno state, suspected suspected Boko Haram militants, who arrived on motorcycles throwing bombs, raided the mostly Christian town of Shani after nightfall on November 29, witnesses and military officials revealed.
Locals said “scores of people” had been killed in the town of Shani, but a police source said they had been unable to verify the death toll as communications to the town had been largely cut off.
Resident Ishaya Brimah, who escaped, said more than 30 men were involved in the violence.
Thousands of people have been killed and 1.6 million driven from their homes as Boko Haram attempts to establish an Islamic State within Nigeria, according to official estimates.
Over the past three weeks, insurgents captured two additional Nigerian cities, including Shani and Chibok, Christians said.
In October, armed Muslim militants reportedly stormed two churches in Taraba state, killing 31 people as they worshipped, according to a church leader.
Earlier in April Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 Christian schoolgirls, prompting an international outcry.
At least 57 have escaped, leaving 219 of the girls missing, according to rights investigators. Boko Haram says the kidnapped girls have been converted to Islam and married off or sold.
Amid the ongoing clashes, Christian missionaries are trying to “counter the hopelessness of violence and terror” with spreading audio Bibles, the U.S.-based Mission Network News broadcaster reported.
It said the World Mission group is “providing hope” through what it called “Treasures”, digital audio Bibles that have a built-in solar panel with rechargeable batteries.
“World Mission is focusing on providing refugees and hard-to-reach people with the Word of God, sharing the story of Jesus and popular Old and New Testament stories,” MNM said on its website. Each unit costs $38 and can hold more than 60 hours of material.
Yet, providing Christians and new believers with Bibles remains a challenge in northern Nigeria as security forces have been struggling to contain Islamic militancy.
Additionally Nigeria’s Human Rights Commission has accused the country’s security forces of “systematic extra-judicial killings” and called “the lack of due process” the most frequently violated human right, media reported. (With reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos).
(BosNewsLife (2004-2014) is the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians. It has been ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since May 2004. Please help BosNewsLife to remain a voice of the voiceless. Click here for a subscription).
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