Reprisal Attacks Continue After Repeated Bombings of Churches by Nigerian Islamists
Christian and Muslim Leaders Call for Calm
Washington, D.C. (June 19, 2012) –Christian and Muslim leaders are calling for calm as reprisal killings of Christians and Muslims continue in northern Nigerian cities of Kaduna and Zaria. The reprisal attacks started after members of the Nigerian Islamic group, Boko Haram, bombed three churches during worship services on June 17.
Members of Boko Haram carried out the attacks on two churches in the city of Zaria and a church in the city of Kaduna. In retaliation, Christian youth in the Christian-dominated areas of southern Kaduna started killing Muslims and attacking mosques. This was followed by killings of Christians and destruction of churches and Christian businesses in the city of Zaria and northern Kaduna. More than 70 people have been killed so far, but the number could grow as the attacks continue. The attacks prompted authorities to declare a curfew in the city of Kaduna.
“Boko Haram’s strategy of bombing Christian churches is a dangerous strategy that could plunge Nigeria into a Christian/Muslim religious war that would destroy northern Nigeria," said Christian leader, Rev Dr. Samuel Kraakevik Kujiyat and Muslim leader, Alhaji Ja’afaru Makariuna.
Boko Haram has taken responsibility for these latest attacks and warned that “Christians must all convert to Islam in order to have peace.” The Islamic group has vowed to eliminate Christians from northern Nigeria and establish an Islamic state in Nigeria. The group has killed hundreds of Christians since 2009. Over the past three weeks alone, the group has bombed six churches during Sunday worship services. Christians perceive the police and military to be in collusion with the Islamists and some Christian youth are taking the law into their own hands.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, said, “Where is the State protection of Churches? How many Churches have to be bombed before the military or police are called out? Christians retaliate because the Muslim- controlled northern states offer them no protection. We urge Christian youth not to resort to reprisal attacks and we urge those outraged by Nigeria’s failure to protect all its citizens to call the embassy in their respective countries and ask for concrete measures to protect the Churches.”
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Tags: Boko Haram