On Oct. 1 46 students were killed in the town of Mubi when suspected Boko Haram militants raided a student residence compound. The militants went door to door asking the names of thier victims and whether they were Christian before they killed them. Read the I witness accounts
10/6/2012 Nigeria (MorningStarNews) – The gunmen who killed at least 46 people in Nigeria’s northwestern town of Mubi on Monday (Oct. 1) first asked them if they were Christians before shooting or knifing them, according to students who escaped the carnage.
Two students from the off-campus housing site in the Mubi suburb of Wuro Fatuje, Adamawa state, where the massacre took place, told Morning Star News that the assailants were ethnic Hausa Muslims who shouted “Allahu Akbar [God is greater]” as they shot or stabbed hostel residents. One of the students said the assailants also torched a church building in nearby Tudun Wada the same night.
The students speculated that non-Christian victims among the dead were killed by mistake or suspected of collaborating with security agency raids in Mubi last month that resulted in the round-up of 156 members of Islamic extremist group Boko Haram and the death of one of its leaders.
The gunmen invaded the off-campus housing site serving three Mubi schools – Federal Polytechnic, School of Health Technology and Adamawa State University – at about 10 p.m., “forcing into students’ rooms and asking those they identified as Christians to recant their Christian faith,” said one of the students residing at the site. “Those who refused to do so were either shot or had their throats cut with knives.”
The Christian student of business and management at the Federal Polytechnic, like two other students who said Christians were targeted, has left the area and was willing to have his name published, but it is withheld as Boko Haram has extensive networks throughout the country. He said by phone that his escape was nothing short of miraculous.
“When they entered my hostel’s compound, they were knocking on our doors one after the other. They were asking students, ‘What is your name?’” he said. “Each time we heard them asking, and the next thing we would hear was gunshot. They moved from one room to another, knocking on the door and shouting in Hausa and English. They were asking us to open the door.”
When they reached his room, he said, he did not open the door.
“I remained in prayer, until they left my door to the other rooms,” he said. “I didn’t know what made them not to break into my room as they did to other students living in the hostel. When I came out later, I was still hearing gunshots and the wailing of students who were being killed in other compounds. It was a horrible scene. I counted five bodies in my compound.”
Another business/management student at the Polytechnic also residing at the housing site corroborated the account of the other student.
“The gunmen were asking students if they were Christians or Muslims, and then asked Christian victims to deny Christ,” the student said. “Christian students who refused to do so were killed by the gunmen instantly.”
He added that the attackers also set fire to a Pentecostal church in Tudun Wada.
“I learned that the Redeemed Christian Church in Tudun Wada was also burnt down when the attackers visited the area,” he said.
The students’ accounts may contradict or complement Polytechnic and Red Cross officials’ statements that the gunmen arrived at the off-campus housing site and fired indiscriminately at residents for about an hour.
The attack follows earlier murders of Christians in the town. In January, 13 Christians holding a town hall fellowship in Mubi were killed. Local police blamed the killings on Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is a sin.”
Boko Haram has been blamed for the deaths of more than 1,400 people since 2010, according to the BBC. The Islamist sect has targeted churches, state offices, law enforcement sites and some moderate mosques in its effort to destabilize the government and impose a strict version of sharia (Islamic law) on all of Nigeria.
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population of 158.2 million and live mainly in the south, while Muslims account for 45 percent and live mainly in the north. But 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.