MUSLIM HATE IN NIGERIA 

Boko Haram ambush death toll hits 69

AFP
Updated July 30, 2017

KANO: At least 69 people died in a Boko Haram ambush of an oil exploration team in north-east Nigeria, as three men kidnapped by the jihadists made a video appeal.

Experts said the attack — Boko Haram’s bloodiest this year — underscored the persistent threat it poses, despite government claims the group is a spent force.

“So far the death toll stands at 69,” said an aid agency worker involved in the recovery of bodies after the attack in the Magumeri area of Borno state on Tuesday.

The worker, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said 19 soldiers, 33 civilian militia and 17 civilians were killed.

“The last body was recovered on Friday in the bush in the Geidam district of neighbouring Yobe state, which is several kilometres from the scene of the ambush,” he said. “It shows the victim, who had gunshot wounds, died after trekking a long distance. There could be more such victims in the bush.”

Another source with knowledge of the rescue operation gave the death toll as “70 or more” and also said it was unclear whether all the victims had been accounted for.

The attack hit Nigerian National Petroleum CorporČation (NNPC) staff.

“It’s a confirmation of the boldness and reassurance that Boko Haram has managed to gain over the last six weeks,” said Yan St-Pierre, from the Modern Security Consulting Group.

“They have been attacking more and more military outposts and more military convoys. For them to go after NNPC personnel just shows they don’t fear any military reprisal.

“Basically they have managed to gain enough resources, enough material, to plan ambushes targeted towards high value targets.”

News of the rising death toll came after Boko Haram published a four-minute video in which three men identified themselves as being from the University of Maiduguri.

The trio were part of a NNPC team on a mission to find commercial quantities of oil in the Lake Chad basin.

“I want to call on the acting president professor Yemi Osinbajo to come to our rescue to meet the demand,” one of the men says in the video, which he said was shot on Friday.

He attributed the attack to the IS-supported Boko Haram faction headed by Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, which has vowed to hit military and government targets.

“They have promised us that if their demands are met they will release us immediately to go back to the work we were caught doing,” the man added.

University of Maiduguri spokesman Danjuma Gambo confirmed the identities of the three kidnapped men in the video. “They are our staff but one more is yet to be accounted for,” he said.

Five members of staff from the university — two lecturers, two technologists and a driver — were killed, vice-chancellor Ibrahim Njodi said on Friday.

He told reporters the university had been hesitant to send staff with the NNPC team but had been assured about security.

Nigeria is searching for oil in the northeast to try to reduce its reliance on supplies from the Niger delta, where militant attacks have slashed production.

Kidnapping has been a feature of the Boko Haram insurgency, which has killed at least 20,000, displaced more than 2.6 million and left millions of others on the brink of famine.

Thousands of women and girls have been seized, to be married off to fighters, used as sex slaves or suicide bombers, while men and boys have been made to fight in the Islamist ranks.

The al-Barnawi faction differs from fighters loyal to Boko Haram’s long-time leader Abubakar Shekau in that it disagrees with the indiscriminate targeting of civilians.

On Friday, two suicide bombers struck a camp for displaced people in Dikwa, 90 kilometres east of Maiduguri, killing eight, said local government official Rawa Gana Modu.

In Bama, 70 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri, three young female suicide bombers were killed when their explosives detonated prematurely on Thursday.


Boko Haram leader urges fighters: kill, slaughter and abduct

December 31, 2016

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Boko Haram's leader is urging his fighters to "kill, slaughter and abduct ... and detonate bombs everywhere," in a new video that denies Nigerian government claims that his Islamic extremist group has been crushed.

President Muhammadu Buhari declared last week that soldiers had driven Boko Haram from its last forest enclave, with fighters on the run and no place to hide.

Abubakar Shekau in a video posted on YouTube Thursday announces he is "well and alive."

Nigeria's military said they seized Shekau's Quran in an assault on Boko Haram's last hideout in the northeastern Sambisa Forest — wanting to indicate he was on the run. The military has at least three times in the past claimed to have killed Shekau, only to have him reappear in a video.


Nigerian Middle Belt state: 800+ Christians killed, 800+ injured, 100+ churches destroyed


Published: Oct. 26, 2016

Worldwatch Monitor

Nigeria’s Middle Belt is the scene of ever-continuing attacks on Christian farmers by mainly Muslim Hausa-Fulani herdsmen, including this past week where attacks have occurred in both Kaduna and Benue states. Now a recent report about another state in the Middle Belt, Nasarawa, shows that it too has been the scene of serious violence against Christians. In the period January 2013–May 2016, 826 Christians were killed and 878 injured. There were 102 churches destroyed or damaged.


Beside these, 787 houses were destroyed, as well as nine shops, and 32 motorised vehicles. Many families were completely deprived of their livelihoods. Around 21,000 Christians were reported as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in different camps inside and outside Nasarawa. Due to the difficult security situation, the authors of the in-depth fact-finding report are convinced that they were only able to report part of what really happened.


Their Nigeria Conflict and Security Analysis Network (NCSAN) report shows that Nasarawa has been engulfed in various forms of conflict since its creation in 1996. Many researchers, policy makers and government officials have explained the conflict in terms of politics, ethnicity and economic contestation over land and resources. In most cases, the religious component of the conflict has been completely downplayed, marginalised, excluded or neglected.


However, field research conducted by NCSAN on the conflicts which occurred from 2013 to 2016 reveals that Christians have been specifically targeted. Emerging evidence suggests there is a strategic agenda to target and persecute ethnic groups that are predominantly Christian.


The targeting of Christians appears to be carried out by the Hausa-Fulani herdsmen and by deliberate government policies to marginalise Christians and Christian communities. This is evident in political power-sharing and domination through traditional rulership. Islamic identity tends to give Muslims undue advantage over the affairs of the state. Indeed, state government policies are crafted to favour Islam and Muslims. The ongoing persecution of Christians in Nasarawa, like many other places in northern Nigeria, has been ignored.


This study unearths the drivers of persecution against Christian communities in Nasarawa and, importantly, it provides the basis for a policy proposition that encourages the need to build common citizenship among the people.


The report is the third in a series published by Open Doors' World Watch Research unit. The first report highlighted non-Boko Haram violence against Christians in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria. The second report investigated in greater detail violent conflict in Taraba from 2013 to 2015.



Dozens slaughtered and church burned down in latest Fulani massacre


Ruth Gledhill

CHRISTIAN TODAY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
27 April 2016

Up 40 people or more have been slaughtered in a new atrocity by an armed force of Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria's Enugu State, according to local reports.


In the run-up to the massacre, local news sites commented on the arrival of 500 heavily-armed herdsmen in and around seven villages in the Nimbo area.


Ten homes were razed by arson, cars and motorcycles were destroyed, animals killed and Christ Holy Church International also burnt to the ground, the Nigerian news site Vanguard reported.


One young man died when the bus he was travelling in was set fire to near the church.


One victim, Kingsley Ezugwu, speaking to Vanguard from his hospital bed, said: "I was coming out from the house when I heard the community bell ringing. I was going with a friend to know what the bell was all about, only to see about 40 Fulani herdsmen armed with sophisticated guns and machetes.


"They pursued us, killed my friend and shot at me several times but missed. They caught up with me and used machetes on me until I lost consciousness."


When the attackers realised he was still alive, others were summoned to finish him off. He managed to crawl away and said he was helped to hospital by a "good samaritan".


Many survivors fled the villages.


A spokesman for Rochas Okorocha, the local governor, said: "Our problem in this country is that whatever happens is given an ethnic colouration and that makes the solution to such problem somewhat difficult."


According to the Igbo Youth Movement, Fulani herdsmen have murdered more than 700 Nigerians in the last 10 months, with the Federal Government taking no action to halt the killings.


Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, a defence spokesman in Nigeria, told IBTimes that security forces were investigating the killings. "Security agencies will issue a statement soon, investigations are ongoing," he said.


He was unable to confirm the numbers killed in the latest attack. Estimates in Nigeria range from 20 to 48 people.



Boko Haram kills nearly 200 in 48 hours – Militants unleash female suicide bombers North East Nigeria

July 5, 2015

KANO: Boko Haram carried out a fresh wave of massacres in northeastern Nigeria on Friday, locals said, killing nearly 200 people in 48 hours of violence President Muhammadu Buhari blasted as "inhuman and barbaric". The militants have staged multiple attacks across restive Borno state since Wednesday, gunning down worshippers at evening Ramadan prayers, shooting women in their homes, and dragging men from their beds in the dead of night.

A young female suicide bomber also killed 12 worshippers when she blew herself up in a mosque in Borno. While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Boko Haram has used both men and young women and girls as human bombs in the past. And as night fell, Nigerian troops battled "hordes of Boko Haram gunmen" who seemed set on attacking the state capital Maiduguri, the birthplace of the extremist Islamist movement.

"President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the latest wave of killings... describing them as most inhuman and barbaric," the presidency said in a statement. The bloodshed is the worst since Buhari came to power in May, vowing to root out the insurgency that has claimed more than 15,000 lives. Up to 50 armed men on motorbikes stormed the village of Mussa in the latest atrocity on Friday, shooting villagers and burning their homes, survivor Bitrus Dangana said. "They killed six people in the village and they chased the inhabitants into the bush, firing at them... 25 people were killed in the bush," he said. Another survivor, Adamu Bulus, confirmed 31 people had been murdered. It was the fourth time that Boko Haram had attacked the village in the past year, local youth worker Sunday Wabba told AFP, describing how they "killed everyone on sight".

Bodies 'lying unattended'

News of the massacres first emerged on Thursday, when survivors told of raids on three different villages in Borno state the previous evening that left at least 145 people dead and many houses burnt to the ground. On Friday, fresh details of the killings emerged from a resident of Kukawa, near lake Chad, the worst-affected village. Baana Kole told AFP that he and others had managed to escape into the bush where they spent the night, before returning to bury the dead, only to find that the militants had laid mines everywhere. "Some residents who hid in trees saw them planting the mines and alerted us when we returned to the village and started burying our dead," he said. "So many dead bodies are still in Kukawa lying unattended. We had to abandon them because we could not carry them with us."

Less than 24 hours later, a girl blew herself up in a mosque in Malari village, more than 150 kilometers away from Wednesday's attacks."The bomber was a girl aged around 15 who was seen around the mosque when worshippers were preparing for the afternoon prayers," Danlami Ajaokuta, a vigilante assisting the military against Boko Haram, told AFP. "People asked her to leave because she had no business there and they were not comfortable with her in view of the spate of suicide attacks by female Boko Haram members. "She made to leave but while the people were inside the mosque for the prayers she ran from a distance into the mosque and blew herself up," he added an account corroborated by resident Gajimi Mala.

Boko Haram 're-grouped'

Early Friday morning, as people were sleeping, Boko Haram militants dragged men out of houses in Miringa village and shot them for escaping forced conscription. They "picked 13 men from selected homes and took them to the Eid prayer ground outside the village where they opened fire on them," resident Baballe Mohammed said, adding 11 died and two managed to escape. He and another resident said the victims had been targeted because they had fled their home village after Boko Haram tried to force them to join their ranks.

Then on Friday evening, local vigilantes said Nigerian troops were battling Boko Haram fighters in Zabarmari village, only 10 kilometers (six miles) from Maiduguri, trying to prevent an apparent rebel attempt to enter the city. With heavy gunfire and more than 10 loud explosions reported, local resident Zanna Shehuri told AFP, "Boko Haram are now in Zabarmari trying to come into Maiduguri but are facing stiff resistance from soldiers." The armed group has intensified its campaign of violence since Buhari came to power on May 29, launching raids, explosions and suicide attacks that have claimed over 450 lives.

The spike in violence has sparked concern that earlier victories claimed by the armies of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon in the region are being eroded. The four countries-all of which border Lake Chad, a focal point of Boko Haram unrest-launched offensives against the militants early this year as it became apparent that the armed group was making big gains in Nigeria. They managed to push the militants out of captured towns and villages, but the recent attacks highlight that Boko Haram is not defeated. A new regional fighting force comprising 8,700 troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin is due to deploy at the end of the month. AFP


30 killed at crowded mosque by 2 young female suicide bombers in northeast Nigeria

6-22-2015
The Associated Press
Hamilton Spectator
By Haruna Umar

BAUCHI, Nigeria — Two girls blew themselves up on Monday near a crowded mosque in northeast Nigeria's biggest city, killing about 30 people, witnesses said.

It is the fourth suicide bombing this month in Maiduguri, which is the birthplace of the Boko Haram Islamic extremist group.

Fishmonger Idi Idrisa said one teenager exploded as she approached the mosque crowded with people from the nearby Baga Road fish market, performing afternoon prayers during the holy month of Ramadan.

The second teen appeared to run away and blew up further away, killing only herself, he said.

Civilian defence fighter, Sama Ila Abu, said he counted at least 30 corpses as he helped to collect the dead.

Both men said there were many injured being sent to the hospitals.

Boko Haram has kidnapped hundreds of girls and women and the numbers of female suicide bombers has raised fears that it is using the captives in its campaign.

A military bomb disposal expert has told the AP that most bombs carried by girls and women have remote detonation devices, meaning the carrier cannot control the explosion.

Boko Haram has stepped up attacks since Nigeria's new president, Muhammadu Buhari, announced the military command centre is moving from the capital Abuja to Maiduguri in Borno State.

The attacks come as Nigeria and its neighbours are preparing to strengthen a multinational army that this year drove Boko Haram out of the towns and villages where it had set up a so-called Islamic caliphate.

But bombings and hit-and-run attacks have continued, along with cross-border raids.

On Thursday, a group of the extremists attacked two towns in neighbouring Niger, killing at least 40 people, the government said.

In its first attack on Chad, suicide bombers a week ago simultaneously attacked two buildings including the national police academy in N'Djamena, the Chadian capital, killing at least 33 people.



Boko Haram Targets Catholics: 100,000 Homeless From Islamist Insurgency, Christian Charity Says

By Morgan Winsor on May 12 2015
International Business Times

More than 100,000 Nigerian Catholics have been left homeless by Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency in northeast Nigeria and another 5,000 have been killed, a Christian charity said Tuesday. As a result, there are now 7,000 widows and 10,000 orphans in the Maiduguri diocese, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) told Premier.

A report by the charity also found some 350 churches have been destroyed in the diocese, which encompasses Borno and Yobo states as well as part of Adamawa. More than half of the Maiduguri diocese’s parish centers, chaplaincies and church-run primary schools have been deserted by Nigerian Catholics and many of them are occupied by Boko Haram militants, who control up to 85 percent of the diocese territory.


“People are very scared, and those who are able to return home find there is nothing left,” Rev. Father Gideon Obasogie, the diocesan director of social communications, told ACN, according to Catholic Herald. “A life lived with much fear is terrible.”


The Nigerian army has declared military victories and territorial gains against the Islamist extremists in recent months. But Boko Haram’s insurgency has practically wiped out villages and communities in the northeast. More than 1.5 million people forced to flee their homes in Nigeria were still living in internal displacement centers as of April. Boko Haram has killed more than 13,000 civilians since 2009, the United Nations refugee agency has said.


Boko Haram has sworn loyalty to the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS or ISIL. ISIS officially accepted its pledge in March, making Boko Haram the largest and most lethal jihadi group to be inducted into the Islamic State group’s network. The militants seek the establishment of a state in northeast Nigeria based on strict Islamic law.

Muslim preacher charged in Nairobi court with incitement to kill

MONDAY, MAY 18, 2015
Daily Nation

An Islamic preacher who police linked to the Garissa University College attack was on Monday charged in Nairobi with inciting Muslims to kill non-Muslims.

Hassan Mahat Omar faces a 30-year jail term if convicted.

The prosecution said he committed the offence on or before March 6, 2015 at Al-Hidaya Mosque in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate.

The offensive utterances — although not included in the particulars of the charge sheet which was read out in court — are allegedly contained in a compact disk titled Sheikh Hassan and which the police say the preacher personally published.

Mr Omar is facing another case in which he is charged alongside his wife Fordosa Mohammed with being found in possession of two hand grenades.

The case is pending judgment at the Milimani Law Courts.

On Monday, prosecutor Daniel Karori oppose his release on bail, saying he was a terror suspect.

“He faces a serious charge of inciting Muslims to kill non-Muslims and another case of being found in possession of explosives, of which point to the involvement of the accused person in offences against the public.

“We also ask the court to take judicial notice of the numerous terrorist attacks that target non-Muslims and deny him bail,” Mr Karuri submitted.

ARRESTED A MONTH AGO

Mr Omar was arrested a month ago and detained for investigations over his alleged involvement in the Garissa attack in which 148 people, including 142 students, were killed.

The police had claimed he financed one of the worst terrorist attacks in the country and that he had been in “constant” communication with Mohammed Kuno, a leader of Al-Shabaab and the suspected mastermind of the Garissa attack.

He had also been accused of “radicalising” the youth and facilitating their exodus to Somalia for recruitment into Al-Shabaab.

His lawyer Mbugua Mureithi on Monday protested that the present charge was not related to what he had been arrested and detained for a month ago.

“There was also an averment that he had obtained his identity card fraudulently but the matter has been through a full trial at the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Kibera, where he was acquitted in 2012,” Mr Mbugua told the court, while opposing the prosecution’s request to have Omar detained till the new case is heard and determined.

The lawyer said the present charge was defective as “no verbatim statement of incitement” was stated neither has Mr Omar been proven to be the maker of the offensive CD.

Senior Principal Magistrate Grace Mumasi deferred the ruling on whether the suspect may be released on bond or not to Friday, May 22.


Scores Dead from Attacks on Church, Christian Areas in Northeast Nigeria

Suspected Boko Haram rebels kill nine volunteers guarding worship service.
June 3, 2014

JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Suspected Boko Haram Islamists killed nine Christians guarding a church service in Borno state on Sunday (June 1), hours before a bombing of a Christian area in neighboring Adamawa state resulted in at least 48 deaths, Christian leaders said.

In Borno, at least 10 gunmen attacked a Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria or EYN) congregation during worship in Attagara village, near Gwoza town on northeastern Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, they said. The gunmen killed nine EYN members volunteering as a security team, area Christian leaders told Morning Star News, and a local witness reportedly said area men mobilized, killed four of the Boko Haram attackers and arrested three others.

One area Christian leader said the attackers were a small part of 200 assailants who have invaded Attagara and other predominantly Christian villages around Gwoza the past two weeks, destroying homes and churches.

“Our church in Attagara was attacked also on Sunday,” said Dr. Rebecca Dali, adding that church members there and in surrounding villages sent distress calls to her husband, Samuel Dali, who is president of the EYN. “There have been 24-hour-a-day attacks on Christian communities of Attagara, Hawul, and Gwoshe around the Gwoza mountains.”

She said her husband made efforts to contact military officers in the Borno capital of Maiduguri but received no positive response.

“My husband eventually contacted the presidency in Abuja, and a military helicopter was sent to the area to contain the attack on these Christian villages,” Dali said. “Reports we received from the area show that the soldiers drafted there to repel attackers could not get to the villages on claims that they did not receive orders from their command headquarters in Maiduguri to fight the insurgents.”

Recent attacks on Attagara, Gwoshe, Hawul, and other Gwoza villages have resulted in the destruction of 36 church buildings in the area, Dali said. “The Boko Haram Islamists have destroyed 36 churches in Gwoza area, including that of Attagara attacked on Sunday,” she said. “We now have only two churches that have not been affected.”

Paul Gadzama, a native of Borno state who is director of Relief, Empowerment And Development Missions (READ Missions), said the attacks on the Attagara EYN church and other villages in Gwoza are part of a strategy to eliminate Christians.

“Boko Haram gunmen have continued to attack these areas inhabited by Christians with the sole aim of pushing them out to enable establish an Islamic country,” Gadzama told Morning Star News in Jos. “So far they have taken over so many villages, forcing our people to flee to Cameroon.”

Titus Pona, chairman of the Borno state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, told Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper that the Gwoza area is more than 80 percent Christian. The Nigerian Army is reportedly ill-equipped and/or unwilling to thwart terrorist attacks, and Pona reportedly said that after many Christians were killed during the attacks of the last two weeks, villagers trying to defend themselves killed 37 Boko Haram rebels on Sunday (June 1).

Explosion in Adamawa

Suspected members of Boko Haram on Sunday (June 1) also bombed a predominantly Christian area in Mubi, Adamawa state, with casualties higher than official figures, according to area Christians.

Explosives detonated at 6 p.m. in the Kabang area of Mubi, in northeastern Nigeria, killed and wounded patrons at a bar for viewing televised soccer as well as people at a nearby soccer game, said Dali, a resident of Mubi.

“There were some of our church members who were in the vicinity of the bomb attack, and they said at least 48 persons were killed in the attack,” she said. “Those who died are mostly Christians. Some Christian youths were also playing soccer near the bombed area, and they were affected by the bombing.”

Other witnesses reportedly said at least 45 people died in the blast, which also damaged several shops.
EYN is headquartered in Mubi.

“Our church, EYN, lost two of her members in the bomb attack, and they are one John, a member of the New Life for All Gospel Team [evangelistic outreach] in the church, and Miss Godiya John, a member of the Girls Fellowship in the church,” Dali told Morning Star News. “As I speak to you now [11 a.m. Monday, June 2], their funeral service is going on in the church.”

The government figure for those killed was 18, according to Director of Defense Information Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade. Initially he reportedly made reference to the bomb exploding at a soccer field, but at a press conference with other security officials on Monday (June 2) he referred to it as an explosion at the TV-viewing bar as he advised soccer fans to be vigilant during the upcoming World Cup. Olukolade reportedly said 19 people were wounded from the blast, though witnesses said dozens were injured.

Near the site of the explosion is the headquarters of the Special Operations Battalion of the Nigerian Army that is trying to counteract Boko Haram violence, though soldiers are reportedly advised not to frequent the bar after 4 p.m. It was not clear at press time how many of the victims were soldiers.
Witnesses reportedly said explosives were hidden in a pair of three-wheeled vehicles outside the bar. The military’s Olukolade reportedly said two suspects were arrested, but that one of them later died in a hospital from injuries sustained in the attack.

Adamawa Gov. Murtala Nyako described the bomb attack as “barbaric, repugnant and unacceptable.”
Mubi and surrounding areas have been under attack by Boko Haram Islamists fighting to impose sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria; the rebels seek more strict enforcement of sharia in the country’s northern states, where it is already in place applicable to the region’s Muslim population.

In the recent attacks, five members of the EYN church were killed in Saminaka village, near Mubi, while nine other church members were killed in nearby Njilang village, Dali said.

“In these attacks, houses of our church members were destroyed, and they were displaced, as many of them were forced out of their villages,” she said.

Boko Haram (“Western education is a sin”), the name residents of Maiduguri, Borno state originally gave the group that calls itself, “The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad” (from the Arabic, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad,), has killed thousands of civilians since 2009.

The Nigerian government declared a military state of emergency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe in northeastern Nigeria on May 14, 2013. Nigeria outlawed Boko Haram on June 4, declaring their activities illegal and “acts of terrorism,” and the U.S. State Department designated the group as a terrorist organization on Nov. 13.

With some members of the Nigerian group coming from Cameroon, Chad and Niger, Boko Haram has grown into a heavily armed militia with ties to Al Qaeda. The State Department’s 2012 Terrorism report ranked it the second deadliest terrorist group worldwide, after the Taliban.

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population of 158.2 million, while Muslims account for 45 percent. Those practicing indigenous religions may be as high as 10 percent of the total population, according to Operation World, so the percentages of Christians and Muslims may be less.


Lands Drenched in Innocent Blood: Boko Haram Declares War Against Christians

By Deacon Keith Fournier
3/9/2012
Catholic Online

A spokesman for Boko Haram announced on Thursday they are planning  a "war on Christians". They told a local reporter  it would occur in the "next few weeks". The spokesman said the group "will launch a number of attacks, coordinated and part of the plan to eradicate Christians from certain parts of the country. We will create so much effort to end the Christian presence in our push to have a proper Islamic state that the Christians won't be able to stay." The blood of the martyrs seems to be flowing more frequently these days as militant Islamic terrorism increases.

ABUA,Nigeria (Catholic Online) - On Wednesday, March 7, 2012, six armed men killed a customs official, a five year old boy and at least two others. They did so intentionally and in cold blood. They did so in the name of Allah.

They set fire to a police station, a government building and two churches, one Catholic and one belonging to the Christian Brethren. They blew up vehicles, motorcycles and terrorized a town for three hours - all, once again, in the name of Allah.

This Islamist group has been terrorizing northern Nigeria for two years. They claimed responsibility for their evil and horrific behavior without any remorse or regret. On Thursday, March 8, 2012, they also killed a British and an Italian hostage. None of the reports indicated how the murders occurred but, the track record of similar Jihadis points to beheadings. We have only to remember Danny Pearl. In fact, we MUST remember Danny Pearl!

The President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, properly condemned the murders. The two victims were innocent engineers who had been taken by these evil Islamists in May of 2011. Efforts to negotiate for their release were unsuccessful. So too were efforts to rescue them. Their families are in mourning and we should pray for them.

We reported on the horrible bombing outside of St Theresa's Catholic Church on Christmas Day. That evil act, perpetrated by these Islamic terrorists who proudly refer to themselves as the "Nigerian Taliban," was followed by an ultimatum issued to Christians in Northern Nigeria to leave in three days or face further violence.
 
A spokesman for "Boko Haram" told reporters "our Muslim brothers are advised to return to the north, because we have evidence that they will be attacked. We also issue a three-day ultimatum to the southerners living in the north of Nigeria, to leave. We have serious indications to suggest that the soldiers only kill the innocent Muslims in areas where government has declared a state of emergency. We will face them decisively to protect our brothers."

That was nonsense. There have been no attacks on Muslims in Nigeria. In fact, some Muslims who properly reject the violence of this evil group have been victim of their terror. The phrase "Boko Haram" means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language. These Islamist terrorists hate all things "western" and Christian. They are Jihadiss who have expressed their intention to forcibly establish an Islamic Caliphate and impose Shariah Law on everyone.

They are also called  al-Sunnah wal Jamma - or "Followers of the Prophet's Teachings". They refer to themselves officially as Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, which means "people committed to the propagation of the prophet's teachings and Jihad". They are murderers and terrorists who use an appeal to religion to attempt to justify evil.
 
After the Christmas bombings, a spokesman claimed responsibility in an interview with a local newspaper called The Daily Trust saying "There will never be peace, until our demands are met. We want all our brothers who have been incarcerated to be released; we want full implementation of the Sharia system and we want democracy and the constitution to be suspended."

The terrorist group issued a three-day ultimatum for Christians to leave the North of Nigeria and has called for all Muslims living in the South to move North. They have signaled their intention to fight government troops and to expand their violent attacks against Christians and others who resist their Jihad.

After the Christmas bombing Vatican Radio reported that Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, the Vice President of the Nigerian Bishop's Conference, urged Nigerians to not to allow their country to be overtaken by terror: "Churches have been destroyed and lives were lost and there is no sign that this might end, until the government intervenes decisively."

"We continue to ask Christians to be vigilant and aware of the issue of safety when they go to church and even in their own homes. We have appealed that there be no retaliation and we continue to preach peace, hoping that all of us in Nigeria, Muslims and Christians, we will be able to work and live happily together. This is our position: no violence, no retaliation. We want to live in peace".

Sadly, these evil Jihadists have no such desire.

Archbishop Kaigama added, "We continue to appeal to reason, for dialogue. It is possible for Muslims and Christians to reason together. We know that there are other forces behind the so-called Boko Haram. We do not even know who the Boko Haram really are, what they want, where they get their arms from. What is certain is that there are some forces behind them, either in Nigeria or abroad, who want to profit from instability in our country, but we will not give in to terrorism, we will not allow these fundamentalists to ruin our country".

On the day after Christmas, the Feast of St Stephen the Deacon and Proto - Martyr, a visibly burdened Pope Benedict XVI spoke to the faithful gathered for the Angelus prayer. He spoke from his heart, urging prayers for those whose, "lands are drenched in innocent blood."

The Pope reminded the faithful that St Stephen gave his life for his Christian faith. He spoke of his heroic witness, noting that even as he was being stoned to death he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" and begged forgiveness for his accusers. He extolled the witness of the early martyrs of the Church, a topic which he has frequently addressed in the last few years.

Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office said in a statement, "Regretfully the attacks at the Church of Saint Theresa in Abuja, timed to coincide with Christmas Day celebrations, are once again the expression of the cruelty of blind and absurd hatred devoid of any respect for human life and represent an attempt to generate and fuel further hatred and confusion."

"We express our closeness to the suffering of the Church and of all the Nigerian people who have been affected by violent terrorism even during these days that should be of joy and peace," he added. "While we pray for the victims, we also express the hope that this senseless violence will not weaken the will for peaceful cohabitation and dialogue in the nation."

The word "Martyr" derives from a Greek word which means "witness." The Catholic faith proclaims that the shedding of one's blood in fidelity to Jesus Christ is the final witness to the Faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that:

"Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude" (CCC #2471 - 2473)

What is happening to our brethren in Nigeria - Christian martyrdom at the hands of militant Jihadist Islamists - must not be overlooked. The threat of such violent, evil, Jihadism is not decreasing. If anything, it is increasing. For someone who remembers the cold war, even to the point of drills where we hid under our desks, it calls to mind the great need for a National resolve.  It makes the threat of militant Marxism look mild in comparison.

The victims of this evil are often being killed precisely because they are Christians. The blood of the martyrs seems to be flowing more frequently these days as militant Islamic terrorism increases and establishes a new beachhead in Africa. For Catholics and other Christians, we cannot - we must not- fail to act. Africa is one of the great centers of the renewal of the Church in the Third Millennium. We are living in a new missionary age.

The words attributed to Tertullian in the Second Century of the Church still hold out their promise: "The blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church."  We are living in a new missionary age. Pray for our brethren in Africa. Also, understand the implications of the evil designs of these Jihadists. They hate us. If you want to read a source which "pulls no punches" in their reporting on this growing threat, read Jihad Watch.(http://www.jihadwatch.org/)

A spokesman for Boko Haram announced on Thursday they are planning  a "war on Christians". They told a local reporter  it would occur in the "next few weeks."  The spokesman said the group "will launch a number of attacks, coordinated and part of the plan to eradicate Christians from certain parts of the country. We will create so much effort to end the Christian presence in our push to have a proper Islamic state that the Christians won't be able to stay."


Brits Warned As Nigeria Death Toll Hits 178

VOICE OF AMERICA
1-29-2011

Britons are being warned against travelling to parts of Nigeria as the death toll from a series of terror attacks rose to 178.

Radical Islamist group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for bombings in the northern city of Kano.

Witnesses have described seeing dozens of bodies piled up outside the main morgue after attacks at police stations, state buildings and on streets, beginning on Friday afternoon.

Authorities enforced a 24-hour curfew in the city, with many people remaining home as soldiers and police patrolled the streets and set up roadblocks.

The Foreign Office updated its travel advice for the African country, advising against travel to Kano.

The FCO website said: "We advise against all travel to Kano whilst the curfew remains in force and for those in Kano to remain vigilant and to exercise caution.

"DFID (Department for International Development) and British Council have limited their operations in Kano whilst the curfew is in place."

An official at the city's main morgue said dead bodies had been arriving since Friday night.

Soldiers and police officers swarmed throughout the city as the death toll rose.

Boko Haram is campaigning to implement strict Sharia law across Nigeria, a multi-ethnic nation of more than 160 million people.

The assaults were apparently in response to a refusal by authorities to release their members from custody.

The group, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege", was responsible for at least 510 killings last year alone.

Police spokesman Olusola Amore said attackers targeted five police buildings, two immigration offices and the local headquarters of Nigeria's secret police.

The Nigerian Red Cross said volunteers continued to offer first aid to the wounded and take the seriously injured to local hospitals.


Ramadan violence erupts in Nigeria

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/30/2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Ongoing violence in Nigeria has claimed the lives of at least nine people in Nigeria. Clashes between Christians and Muslims in the divided country are common and the latest round of violence occurred as Muslims were ending their celebration of Ramadan.

ABUJA, NIGERIA (Catholic Online) - The country of 155 million people is 50 percent Muslim and 40 percent Christian with a remaining 10 percent following tribal belief systems. This divide has led to bloody clashes between Christians and Muslims who want the country to respect their religious beliefs and reflect their perspective on the nature of government. Notably, several Muslims have gained attention called for the imposition of Sharia law penalties, such as stoning for adultery, in Muslim areas.

The most recent violence took place in the city of Jos, northeast of the capital. Reportedly, a gang of armed Christian youths attacked Muslim worshippers. In addition to the dead, over 100 were reported injured. Dozens of cars were burned.

Trapping the Muslims with roadblocks, the gang is reported to have used guns, machetes, rocks, and arrows to perpetrate their violence. As many as 20 children may be among the dead. Hospitals reported filling up with the wounded who mostly suffered wounds from thrown objects.

Allegedly, Christian "gangsters" then told witnesses the attacks were revenge for Muslim bombings that took place on Christmas Eve of 2010.

This violence is added to the recent string of attacks from Muslim extremists who are rebelling against the Nigerian government from strongholds in the northern part of the country. On Friday, that group detonated a bomb at UN offices in the capital, Abuja. The attack killed 23 people.

Generally, Nigeria remains peaceful as the different religious groups coexist in separate parts of the country, with Muslims dominating the north and Christians in the south. However, periodic bouts of violence can last for months as each side makes reprisals against the other for previous attacks.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has condemned both acts of violence as his government struggles to maintain peace in the sometimes bitterly divided country.


Christians targeted in fatal stealth attacks

Muslim terrorists implicated in multiple murders

August 13, 2011

WorldNetDaily
By Michael Carl

There's no pattern and little evidence, but periodically, and without warning, another Christian is shot or stabbed – almost always fatally – in the Nigerian town of Maiduguri.

Experts on the persecution of Christians in that part of the world say the Nigerian Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram has been implicated in the murders, which have happened intermittently in the Christians' own homes.

Open Doors USA President Carl Moeller says Boko Haram's motive for the killings is simple: The Muslim group wants to take over in the north.

"As we know, one of the goals of Boko Haram is to create a Shariah, Islamic law, society in Nigeria. Their intentional use of this sort of terroristic activity is designed to further their ends of that," Moeller explained.

"Our co-workers in the city have said basically [Boko Haram] continues to use attacks to disrupt the public peace and have people literally flee, particularly the Christians, flee from these cities," Moeller said.

Moeller said the violence is highly organized and has a very clear objective.

"It's more specifically something like religiocide or religious cleansing. They recognize no other possibility of society based on anything other than Shariah law," Moeller said.

International Christian Concern analyst Jonathan Racho agrees that the group wants to establish Islamic law in the north. He also says that while Boko Haram pushes Shariah, they also try to win influence by portraying Christianity as a "foreign religion."

"Their strict interest in Shariah law is why they look at Christians and say Christians promote Western ideas and are opposed to the Islamic way of life," Racho said.

But Racho added that Boko Haram has an even more sinister purpose.

"One of their goals is to eliminate Christianity," Racho said.

Moeller agrees that one of Boko Haram's objectives is to eliminate Christianity from Nigeria. He also says the group's level of extremism pits them against the government of Nigeria.

"They're at odds with the government of Nigeria and other parts of Nigeria where even moderate Muslims would admit the presence of Christianity. Boko Haram is truly one of those groups that wants to see Christianity eliminated from the country of Nigeria," Moeller said.

Racho added that Christians aren't Boko Haram's only target.

"Even moderate Muslims have been killed by this group," he said.

Racho added that there's one feature of the current series of attacks that sets it apart from other acts of anti-Christian violence.

"They kill a Christian and after a few days they kill another Christian. After a few days they kill another Christian. We don't know how long it's going to continue. We are really alarmed by these killings," Racho said.

Moeller agreed that Boko Haram is using fear as a weapon on the region's Christians.

"There's a great deal of ongoing tension and Boko Haram continues to exploit and play on the fears of people in the area," Moeller said.

Moeller also believes that many Americans don't understand the dynamics of Nigeria's religious rivalry.

"The question of motivations is almost lost on us in America because we don't really grasp the intensity of the religious hatred that goes on in the division between [Muslim] northern and [Christian] southern Nigeria," Moeller explained.

While both Moeller and Racho agree that the aim of the terror campaign is to force Christians out of northern Nigeria, Racho believes the one-at-a-time method has another purpose.

"This campaign is carefully organized to avoid media attention. That's why they're not burning down houses or villages. They're very systematic, and they don't want the media attention. They're succeeding in sowing fear in many of the Christians and many have already left their homes," Racho stated.

Moeller said the terrorist group is more than willing to take advantage of the departure of more Christians.

"They move in where Christians have vacated and take over the social and political control of that area," Moeller said.

Moeller added that the terror group has its sights on the predominantly Christian southern half of the country as well. He saaid that's especially tragic because of the growth of the Christian church in the south.

"The southern part of that country is one of the most vital, powerful, growing churches in all the world. So, this is a formula for an extreme amount of confrontation, violence and death in the area," Moeller said.

Racho said Nigerian security forces have moved into the northern area in an attempt to restore order.

Moeller added that the government is attempting to prosecute the perpetrators when they are able to find and capture them. However, he said Nigeria's Christian president Goodluck Jonathan is acting to avoid the appearance of showing favoritism to Christians.

"He has to promote general peace because extremists in his country would exploit any support that he would show to Christians as confirming their inaccurate statements that the president is actually trying to eliminate Islam from the country," Moeller stated.

One of the government's responses to the terror attacks is to send a six-man fact-finding mission to Borno state, but even with the fact-finding mission, Moeller believes the government's options are limited.

"I can clearly see the connection between what Boko Haram is trying to do and that the way the government's hands are somewhat tied," Moeller said. "If Boko Haram stops its attacks, then the government is able to restore public order."

Moeller added that the government has some tough choices if Boko Haram continues its terror campaign.

"When they (the group) continue to provide more fuel for terrorism and more terroristic activities then the government has to be cautious in its response to that. Otherwise, the government will provide justification for the Boko Haram message. It's a very precarious situation for the government there," Moeller explained.

The Nigerian clash between Muslims and Christians is just one of many similar confrontations going on across Africa.

There are reports nearly half a million people, including many Christians, have been driven from their homes in Ivory Coast following the internationally sanctioned installation of a Muslim as president.

Other clashes have been reported in Kenya and Egypt.

WND recently has reported that Egyptian Christians say they are under siege following the Muslim Brotherhood's integration into power.

Reports document attacks by armed gangs on about 60 Coptic Christians during a protest at a national television headquarters and suggest that the Egyptian army has been part of the aggression.

Christians have been demanding without success that the government prosecute the perpetrators of the attack and the burning of the Mar Mina church in the Cairo neighborhood of Imbabba on May 8.

A dozen people were killed and more than 200 were injured there.

Egyptian human rights activist and journalist Wagih Yacoub was an eyewitness to the violence and describes the assault on Christians as an ambush.

"The army left. They were not there and they did nothing after the attacks. Other criminals came and attacked the Christians. We asked for the rescue and the army came after a few hours," Yacoub related.

In Kenya, President Obama campaigned for the Muslim challenger, Raila Odinga, while Obama was a U.S. senator.

Appearing with Odinga at campaign stops, Obama gave speeches accusing the sitting Kenyan president of being corrupt and oppressive.

But Odinga lost, despite attracting Muslim votes through a secret Memorandum of Understanding with Muslim Sheik Abdullah Abdi, the chief of the National Muslim Leaders Forum of Kenya. In the memo, Odinga promised to rewrite the Kenyan constitution to install Shariah as law in "Muslim declared regions," elevate Islam as "the only true religion" and give Islamic leaders "oversight" over other religions, establish Shariah courts and ban Christian proselytism.

After his loss, Odinga accused the incumbent president of rigging the vote and allegedly incited his supporters to riot. Over the next month, some 1,500 Kenyans were killed and more than 500,000 displaced – with most of the violence led by Muslims, who set churches ablaze and hacked Christians to death with machetes.

Odinga eventually ended up as prime minister of Kenya through a power-sharing arrangement that was enacted in an effort to appease the rioters.


Churches bombed and Christians attacked as violence spreads in Nigeria

March 23, 2011, (PCTV Newsdesk)

Churches bombed and Christians attacked as violence spreads in Nigeria ahead of Presidential elections. Police warn worship areas are targets. Fears that jihad has been launched to create chaos and force state of emergency. Archbishop of Jos fears city could be overrun

There are warnings that growing violence in Nigeria is being instigated by extremists who want to stir up religious violence and create a state of emergency ahead of the Presidential elections. The Archbishop of Jos fears the city could be overrun and is calling for increased security.

A blast on Sunday killed two suspected bombers, but failed to catch the churchgoers for which it was probably intended. In other attacks in Jos three Christians were killed and six stabbed.

These are just the latest in a series of attacks which have claimed hundreds of lives over the past year. A partner of Release International, which serves persecuted Christians, believes the aim behind the attacks is to whip up sectarian violence ahead of the April elections.

The Stefanos Foundation points to a newspaper statement calling for jihad allegedly published by a Jos Muslim Elders Forum on December 30 2010 – days after the latest round of violence erupted.

It said: ‘Muslims in the State shall ensure that a few months before General Elections jihad will be declared in the State, which cannot be controlled even by security agencies, with great slaughter and massacre, which the Federal Government will have no option than to declare a State of Emergency in Plateau.’

‘We’re deeply concerned about these latest attacks,’ says Release CEO Andy Dipper. ‘The continuing targeting of Christians appears to be a deliberate move to provoke a backlash and sectarian violence – an attempt to destabilise the community ahead of the elections. Release urges Nigeria’s Christians to stay vigilant, but to refuse to be drawn into a spiral of violence.’

Archbishop of Jos, the Most Rev Dr Benjamin Kwashi told Release: ‘No-one is willing to accept that the Christian church is under attack. It is difficult for people to understand that Jos could be overrun. The government has been negligent, and the world will not help.’

He acknowledged that some Christians had been driven to defend themselves and were in danger of being drawn into a spiral of violence.

‘Even the Muslims are not safe – though we have been working very hard to keep them safe in our area of town.

‘Revenge I will never support. But those who wish to defend themselves, I cannot stop. People have had enough of this. It’s been going on for 30 years. The government must do more to provide security for everybody.

‘But you know, the only real answer is prayer. I trust God to defend us. I have been threatened with death personally three times. In all three times, the Lord has rescued me.’

There were two failed bomb attacks against churches on Sunday. Release has been told the bombers may have been trying to get round heightened security by targeting worshippers as they were walking home.

The likely targets were members of the Church of Christ In Nigeria (COCIN) and of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Nasawara Gwom, a mainly Christian district of Jos, in Nigeria’s central Plateau State. It’s been reported that two prominent Christian politicians were attending the services.

According to reports men rode into the area on a motorcycle. Witnesses say they dropped the bomb, which exploded, killing them and damaging a nearby shop. An angry crowd turned on another motorcyclist who was acting suspiciously, and killed him. It’s not known whether he was, in fact, another bomber, or a passer-by caught up in the ensuing panic.

Tensions had been heightened by earlier warnings in Jos that bomb attacks against churches were likely.

Despite increased security in advance of next month’s Presidential elections militants managed to plant a second bomb on Sunday behind the headquarters of the Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministry. This was discovered and made safe.

According to Nigerian media reports many churches ended their services early after the bomb blast rang out. But Release partners deny reports that Christians are fleeing the city. ‘People are concerned,’ says a spokesman for the Stefanos Foundation, ‘but they are also very security conscious. Besides, they have lived here all their lives – where would they go?’

Police routinely search worship areas before services, but the approach taken by the motorcycle bombers on Sunday may have been to circumvent that. Commissioner of Police Abdelrahaman Akano told the Nigerian News Service, ‘We are not neglecting the fact that worship areas are targets.’

Sectarian violence has been increasing in Nigeria during the build-up to the elections on April 9. Last week security forces intercepted a truck load of explosives and ammunition in Jos.

Plateau state is on the dividing line between the predominantly Muslim north and the Christian south of the country. There is a history of conflict between different ethnic groups in the region vying for control of fertile land.

In March 2010, militants massacred more than 500 Christians near Jos. Bomb attacks followed on Christmas Eve, attributed to an Islamist sect known as Boko Haram, which means ‘Western education is sinful’.

On March 13, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for murdering a moderate Muslim cleric in Maiduguri, Borno State, who had been advocating non-violence.

Meanwhile in Bauchi state, there are reports that upwards of 4,000 people have been driven from their homes after night attacks by armed Fulani that began on March 10. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports the attackers burnt down 13 churches in villages, along with upwards of 450 homes. The militants, numbering around 2,000, are said to be wearing police uniforms.

Bauchi and Borno states have imposed Islamic Shari’a law – despite Nigeria having a secular constitution. Christians in both states have been driven from their homes.


Nigeria Arrests 164 Over Massacre

Voice of America
21 March 2010

A Nigerian police spokesman says 164 people have been arrested for alleged involvement in violence near the town of Jos earlier this month that killed more than 200 people.

The spokesman said Sunday that 41 of those arrested will be charged with terrorism, which could result in life in prison.

The others, he said, will be charged with illegal possession of firearms, rioting and other offenses.

Witnesses to the March 7 violence said that ethnic Fulani herdsmen, who are Muslim, attacked mainly Christian villages south of Jos, setting homes on fire and slashing people with knives and machetes.

The U.N. special investigator on freedom of religion has said the massacre could have been prevented had authorities addressed deep-seated tensions between Muslims and Christians.

Jos has a history of sectarian violence.  The city sits on the dividing line between Nigeria's mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.


TIMELINE: Ethnic and religious unrest in Nigeria

Thu Jul 30, 2009

(Reuters) - Security forces in northern Nigeria on Thursday battled the remnants of an Islamic sect following days of unrest which have killed more than 180 people and displaced thousands.

Following is a timeline of major religious and ethnic violence in Nigeria, a country divided into at least 200 ethnic groups and about evenly split between Muslims and Christians:

2000 - Thousands killed in northern Nigeria as non-Muslims opposed to the introduction of Islamic sharia law fight Muslims who demand its implementation in the northern state of Kaduna.

September 2001 - Christian-Muslim violence flares after Muslim prayers in Jos, with churches and mosques set on fire. According to a September 2002 report by a panel set up by Plateau state government, at least 915 people are killed in days of rioting.

November 2002 - Nigeria decides to abandon the Miss World contest in Abuja. At least 215 people die in rioting in the northern city of Kaduna following a newspaper article suggesting the Prophet Mohammad would probably have married one of the Miss World beauty queens if he were alive today.

May 2004 - Hundreds of people, mostly Muslim Fulanis, are killed by Christian Tarok militia in the central Nigerian town of Yelwa. Survivors say they buried 630 corpses. Police say hundreds were killed.

-- Muslim and Christian militants fight bloody street battles later the same month in the northern city of Kano. Christian community leaders say 500-600 people, mostly Christians, were killed in the two days of rioting by Muslims.

February 2006 - A week of rioting by Muslim and Christian mobs claims at least 157 lives. The violence begins in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, when a Muslim protest against Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad runs out of control. Revenge attacks follow in the south.

November 2008 - Clashes between Muslim and Christian gangs triggered by a disputed local government chairmanship election kill at least 400 people in the central city of Jos.

February 2009 - The governor of Bauchi state imposes a night-time curfew on Bauchi city on February 22, a day after clashes kill at least 11 people. At least 28 people were seriously wounded and several houses, churches and mosques burned down.

July 2009 - Boko Haram, which means "education illegal," stages attacks in the northeastern city of Bauchi on July 26 after the arrest of some of its members. More than 50 people are killed and over 100 arrested, prompting the Bauchi state governor to impose a night curfew on the state capital.

-- Boko Haram, which opposes Western education and demands the adoption of sharia in all of Nigeria, threatens further attacks against security forces.

-- Police in Maiduguri, home of Boko Haram's leader Mohammed Yusuf, say security forces killed 90 sect members on July 27. In neighboring Yobe state, police recover the bodies of 33 sect members after a gun battle near the town of Potiskum on July 29. Some 30 people also have died in Kano.



  

Death toll over 300 in Nigerian sectarian violence

By AHMED SAKA

November 29, 2008

JOS, Nigeria (AP) — Mobs burned homes, churches and mosques Saturday in a second day of riots, as the death toll rose to more than 300 in the worst sectarian violence in Africa's most populous nation in years.

Sheikh Khalid Abubakar, the imam at the city's main mosque, said more than 300 dead bodies were brought there on Saturday alone and 183 could be seen laying near the building waiting to be interred.

Those killed in the Christian community would not likely be taken to the city mosque, raising the possibility that the total death toll could be much higher. The city morgue wasn't immediately accessible Saturday.

Police spokesman Bala Kassim said there were "many dead," but couldn't cite a firm number.

The hostilities mark the worst clashes in the restive West African nation since 2004, when as many as 700 people died in Plateau State during Christian-Muslim clashes.

Jos, the capital of Plateau State, has a long history of community violence that has made it difficult to organize voting. Rioting in September 2001 killed more than 1,000 people.

The city is situated in Nigeria's "middle belt," where members of hundreds of ethnic groups commingle in a band of fertile and hotly contested land separating the Muslim north from the predominantly Christian south.

Authorities imposed an around-the-clock curfew in the hardest-hit areas of the central Nigerian city, where traditionally pastoralist Hausa Muslims live in tense, close quarters with Christians from other ethnic groups.

The fighting began as clashes between supporters of the region's two main political parties following the first local election in the town of Jos in more than a decade. But the violence expanded along ethnic and religious fault lines, with Hausas and members of Christian ethnic groups doing battle.

Angry mobs gathered Thursday in Jos after electoral workers failed to publicly post results in ballot collation centers, prompting many onlookers to assume the vote was the latest in a long line of fraudulent Nigerian elections.

Riots flared Friday morning and at least 15 people were killed. Local ethnic and religious leaders made radio appeals for calm on Saturday, and streets were mostly empty by early afternoon. Troops were given orders to shoot rioters on sight.

The violence is the worst since the May 2007 inauguration of President Umaru Yar'Adua, who came to power in a vote that international observers dismissed as not credible.

Few Nigerian elections have been deemed free and fair since independence from Britain in 1960, and military takeovers have periodically interrupted civilian rule.

More than 10,000 Nigerians have died in sectarian violence since civilian leaders took over from a former military junta in 1999. Political strife over local issues is common in Nigeria, where government offices control massive budgets stemming from the country's oil industry.

Associated Press Writer Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria, contributed to this report.

 

Nigeria: Muslim Violence Forces Christian Withdrawal from Peace Talks

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

NIGERIA (ANS) -- Violence in Kaduna which has claimed 1000 Christian lives and destroyed 63 churches just this year, "must stop" says the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN),in a report from the U.K-based Barnabas Fund.

For three years, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has engaged in government-backed peace talks in the state of Kaduna with its Muslim counterpart, Jamutu'ul Nasir Islam (JNI). However, after the recent spate of attacks in which Islamic militants burnt down nine churches in Makarfi, CAN leaders say the peace process has been undermined.

As a result of the ongoing violence against Christians, CAN withdrew from the talks April 9 saying, "If we continue to dialogue with people when we doubt their sincerity and commitment to the peace which we are honestly pursuing, then the consequences will be grave, to our peril and enslavement."

North and Middle Belt Nigeria is plagued with frequent outbreaks of rioting between Muslims and Christians. Over 10,000 have been killed in such sectarian violence since 2000 when 12 Muslim-majority states in North Nigeria adopted Islamic law (shari'a).

Further details, quotes and photos on this and other stories may be available for news editors on request to Barnabas Fund.

Barnabas Fund works to support Christian communities mainly, but not exclusively, in the Islamic world where they are facing poverty and persecution.

Barnabas Fund, The Old Rectory, River Street, PEWSEY, Wiltshire, SN9 5DB, UK. Tel: +44(0)1672 564938, Fax: +44(0)1672 565030, E-mail: info@barnabasfund.org Web: www.barnabasfund.org

 

Nigeria tense after clashes
6/10/2005 12:08  - (SA)  

Sokoto - Despite the restoration of relative peace in the Sokoto, Nigeria after three months of sectarian clashes, tension still envelops the city as mutual resentment and suspicion between the two feuding sects linger, residents said on Friday.

The clashes were between followers of rival Shia and Sunni Muslim sects.

At least seven people were killed and 53 houses were burnt or vandalised in the clashes that erupted ostensibly over control of the central mosque but which faction leaders, government officials and the police blame on politicians opposed to the state government.

Shia sect spokesperson Sidi Mannir said: "The attacks have stopped but we are not sure if the state government will be able to arrest the masterminds of the attacks and punish them, given their status and connections."

"Only the arrest and prosecution of the masterminds of the attacks will ensure lasting peace because if the arrests are limited to the thugs, the masterminds can recruit new squad from the army of hooligans around," he added.

Following the arrest by the police of Umar Dan-Maishiyya, a Sunni cleric suspected of fuelling the clashes, a Sunni mob went on rampage and burnt down a local government secretariat in Sokoto which led to a police crackdown and arrests were made.

Heavy police presence

Police patrol vehicles have been combing the dusty, refuse-littered streets since Friday, arresting thugs suspected of involvement in the clashes with the help of local vigilantes and rival groups did not participate in the violence.

"The vigilantes are only helping the police to effect the arrests because they know every thug and where to find him. They help our men access the deep recesses of the old city where the suspects live," said Sokoto state police spokesperson Muhammad Umar Dakin-Gari.

Fear of revenge

The involvement of the vigilantes in the clampdown on suspected trouble makers has been a source of concern to inhabitants of the city who fear gang fights between rival groups once the police are off the streets.

"My fear is the youths that have escaped arrest may not take it lightly on their rivals who sold them out to the authorities," Abdullahi Buhari, a civil servant, said while inspecting the carcass of his car that was burnt along with 24 others when Sunni rioters set the local government secretariat ablaze.

"The police operation has been hijacked by thugs and vigilantes who have taken the law into their hands, terrorising opponents and innocent people in the name of assisting the police. This could have a negative effect in the long run," said Sidi Alhaji.

The Shia followers view the formation of a reconciliation committee of clerics and traditional chiefs by the Sokoto sultan Muhammadu Maccido with distrust, alleging the committee is made up of people who sponsored the violence.

Edited by Fidelia van der Linde

 

Nigeria swings between bloodshed and harmony

11 Apr 2007

By Tume Ahemba

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, April 11 (Reuters) - Nnamdi Okpala believes he still has a future in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri despite being a victim of repeated bouts of ethnic and religious violence.

Okpala is a Christian from the Ibo ethnic group, a minority in Maiduguri where Muslims from the Kanuri group dominate. He has lived and traded in the largely Islamic north for 21 years.

Last year, his shop was among dozens belonging to Christian Ibos that were looted and torched during riots in which Muslim mobs killed about 30 Christians.

"The crisis was the worst I have seen in all my stay here. We had to run for our dear lives after the rioters overwhelmed the police. By the time we came back, our shops had been looted and burnt," said Okpala, sitting with a group of Ibo traders in front of a row of shops, some still blackened by soot.

News of the killings in Maiduguri sparked reprisal attacks in the Ibo heartland in the southeast. Christian mobs there turned on northern Muslim traders, killing about 100 of them.

The Maiduguri riots and the tit-for-tat violence in the southeast were typical of Nigeria's volatile mix of ethnic diversity, religious rivalry and complex politics.

The ostensible cause of the riots was Muslim anger over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. But many local people said the violence was instigated by politicians because Maiduguri was scheduled to host a public hearing about a plan to extend the president's tenure, which was unpopular there.

Such eruptions of violence are not uncommon in Nigeria, where human rights groups estimate at least 15,000 people have died in religious or ethnic fighting since 1999 when elections returned Nigeria to democracy after three decades of almost continuous army rule.

But that statistic belies a broader picture of usually peaceful cohabitation in Nigeria, whose 140 million people are split into about 250 ethnic groups and divided roughly equally between Muslims and Christians.

Okpala said the violence, when it occurs, is orchestrated by politicians and radical Islamic preachers who use ethnicity and religion to manipulate people for their own cynical ends.

MUSLIM PRESIDENT

For now, he places his hope in the expected election on April 21 of a northern Muslim to be the next president after eight years of Olusegun Obasanjo, a Christian and an ethnic Yoruba from the southwest.

The two main candidates, Umaru Yar'Adua and Muhammadu Buhari, are both Muslim from Katsina state in the north.

"These senseless killings will reduce when a northerner is president because his Muslim brethren will see him as their own man and won't want to cause trouble for his government," said Okpala.

Obasanjo is due to step down next month after elections marking the first transition from one elected leader to another since independence from Britain in 1960.

The major parties have nominated Muslim flagbearers from the northern part of the country in the spirit of an unwritten agreement by the political elite that the presidency alternates between the north and the south.

"There is no cause for alarm because a reasonable Muslim president may even be better than a bad Christian president," said Reverend Nevin Mshelia, secretary general of the Christian Association of Nigeria's branch in Maiduguri.

Obasanjo has implemented economic reforms that have won praise from Western powers and the private sector, but many northerners feel they have exacerbated an economic imbalance between the south and the poorer north.

"Obasanjo's government has empowered the south and neglected the north," said Audu Maishanu, a 59-year-old car and real estate dealer, sheltering under a tree from the scorching sun in Maiduguri, on the fringes of the Sahel.

"You can hardly get petrol at any filling station in the north. It has been so for eight years," he said, pointing at a group of teenagers hawking fuel in jerrycans by the roadside.

Maishanu said: "Almost all the textile industries in the north have shut down. Anyone that Allah chooses as the next president will surely reverse all this."

Borno, where Maiduguri is located, is one of 12 northern states that imposed provisions of Islamic sharia law into the criminal justice system in 2000, a politically motivated move by state governors that alienated Christians and sparked violence.

But in Maiduguri, residents of all ethnic and religious backgrounds gather in the evenings at Wurali, an area the size of a soccer field filled with shanties, to drink beer or local gin despite sharia restrictions.

"Here there is no religion or ethnicity, we are all united by Bacchus," said a senior Muslim police officer, asking not to be named.

 

NIGERIA: Children dying needlessly from measles and other preventable diseases

11 Jul 2007 20:00:07 GMT

Source: IRIN

LAGOS, 11 July 2007 (IRIN) - Measles is a preventable disease yet when it strikes in Nigeria it finds a ready pool of victims most of whom are children.

In June more than 50 children died while another 400 were hospitalised in Nigeria's northeast Borno state following a measles outbreak.

The viral disease, transmitted both by air and by bodily fluids, was first reported on 19 June in the village of Njimtilo in the outskirts of the Borno state capital Maiduguri, and then quickly spread to five adjoining local areas including Konduga, Jere, Damboa, Bama and metropolitan Maiduguri.

Health officials have frequently blamed low immunisation rates for such outbreaks, as well as outbreaks of polio, diphtheria and tuberculosis. A 2005 World Health Organisation (WHO) survey found that 72 percent of measles cases in Nigeria occurred in children under five years old, three-quarters of whom had not been immunised.

Measles can strike as much as 90 percent of an un-immunised population.

Despite Nigeria's oil wealth only 12.7 percent of children under five years old are fully immunised against childhood diseases. That rate is among the lowest rates anywhere in the world, according to WHO.

One reason for the low coverage, WHO says, is the decrepit health services sector which lacks funding and proper infrastructure and management.

Emeka Iwobi, a paediatric doctor based in Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, told IRIN that poverty and ignorance also play a part. "Most of those who need [vaccines] are too poor to afford them or may not know they need them,"

Some 70 percent of the population of 140 million lives on less than US $1 a day, many in unhygienic conditions that favour the spread of disease.

Most people often lack access to basic medical care. Nigeria was 187th out of 191 countries in a WHO global ranking of performance of health systems, coming ahead of only DR Congo, Central African Republic, Myanmar and Sierra Leone.

The worst affected states in Nigeria are those in the Muslim north. Immunisation efforts in the region have suffered major setbacks because some radical Muslim preachers there are suspicious of Western medicine. The preachers have claimed that the polio vaccination programme was part of plot to reduce the Muslim population.

In 2004 authorities in the mostly Muslim state of Kano suspended polio vaccination for 10 months to conduct tests to determine if the vaccines contained sterilising agents or the AIDS virus, as critics had alleged.

In other parts of northern Nigeria communities systematically boycotted efforts to immunise their children.

"The polio boycott has had a ripple effect on immunisation efforts of other childhood diseases," said a senior official of the National Programme on Immunisation who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We can't make much progress unless we overcome the negative perception," he said.

 

Nigerian Sunnis, Shiites clash after cleric shot

The Associated Press

Published: July 19, 2007

SOKOTO, Nigeria: Clashes between Muslim sects left at least one dead after the shooting of a popular cleric in northern Nigeria, witnesses said Thursday. The cleric later died.

An Associated Press reporter saw the corpse of one man who had been beaten to death by a mob after being accused in the shooting of Sunni cleric Umar Danshiya, who is well-known for his anti-Shiite sermons, at a mosque in the capital of the desert state of Sokoto on Wednesday.

Nura Mohammed, who was taking the cleric home by motorbike taxi, said that three gunmen on motorbikes shot the cleric in the forehead after he finished leading a morning prayer.

The sultan of Sokoto, the spiritual head of Nigeria's Muslims, announced on Thursday that Danshiya had died that morning after lapsing into a coma. Sultan Mohammadu Sa'ad Abubakar appealed for calm, saying on local radio stations: "Do not take the law into your own hands ... the security agencies are investigating."

The body was being washed in preparation for burial in accordance with Islamic rites, the sultan said. At the news of Danshiya's death, several of his supporters cut branches from the trees with machetes and fixed them to their vehicles, a common form of protest in Nigeria.

Earlier, a mob of Danshiya's followers wielding sticks and machetes attacked several Shiites in retaliation for the attack on Danshiya. Nigerian soldiers and police set up roadblocks and patrolled the streets on Thursday with rifles and tear gas.

Nigeria's 140 million people are roughly equally divided between Muslims and Christians. The country is the frequent scene of ethnic and religious clashes. Thousands of people have been killed since the end of military rule eight years ago. Residents say that ethnic or political differences are often exploited by powerful local figures for economic and political reasons.

Most Nigerian Muslims are Sunni, as are most Muslims throughout the world. The Sunni-Shiite doctrinal split dates to the early days of Islam, and tensions between the sects are not unusual.

Associated Press Writer Salisu Rabiu contributed to this report from Kano, Nigeria

 

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