Church Bombing in Nigeria Could have been Prevented

ICC Note:

Boko Haram is an Islamic extremist group that is currently fighting an armed insurgency in northern Nigeria. The groups is attempting to establish a separate Islamic state through use of arms. As a part of its operation, Boko Haram routinely attacks and kills Christians. Boko Haram has bombed church services while Christians were present. A government official knew of one of these bombings before it took place and did nothing to warn the followers that they would be attacked. Twenty people were killed in that attack, which could have been prevented.  

2/28/2013 Nigeria (MorningStarNews) – Nigerian military authorities say the commandant at a military college in Kaduna state had prior knowledge of the Nov. 25, 2012 bombing that killed 20 Christians at the institution’s chapel.

Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Isa knew of Islamic extremist plans to attack the St. Andrews Chapel at the Command and Staff College in Jaji, near Kaduna City, but did nothing to prevent it, according to Army Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika. At a press briefing earlier this month, the nation’s Army chief said Isa did not report the planned bombing to Army leadership.

Isa, who was subsequently redeployed and then forced into retirement after a preliminary investigation, denies the charges.

Ihejirika said investigations are continuing to determine whether the Muslim military officer’s silence about the planned bombing was an act of “negligence or a demonstration of his further involvement in the bombings.”

Military authorities said an investigating panel reported that Iso had information about the suicide attack about 24 hours before it took place. It also recommended punishment for soldiers on duty when the suicide attack occurred.

Two Baptist pastors serving as chaplains at the church died along with 18 other Christian military officers, soldiers, and their families, when suicide bombers from the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram carried out a double-bomb attack on the chapel.

Boko Haram Members Arrested

Nigerian security officials say they have arrested two members of Boko Haram who were involved in the bombing, identified as Mohammed Idris and Ibrahim Mohammed.

Mohammed has reportedly admitted he was with two suicide bombers, identified as Tasiu and Mallam Lawal, as they went up to the gate of the military institution, where he bade them farewell before they detonated the explosives. The 18-year-old Boko Haram member also reportedly admitted that he procured the chemicals used in producing the improvised explosives devices that were planted in the two vehicles used in bombing the church.

Military spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar said Mohammed had also participated in several other attacks in Kaduna state, including the bombing of St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Kaduna City.

“The suspect stated that Bashir Madalla sent Lawal, one of the suicide bombers, to Damaturu, Yobe state to retrieve military uniforms and weapons from the Boko Haram cell, and that Lawal wore the military uniform with the rank of a captain, which afforded him free access into the military formation in Jaji,” she said.

Boko Haram Members on Trial

At the same time, six members of Boko Haram are on trial in Abuja in connection with two other church bombings.

Dozens of Christians were killed in the bombing of St. Theresa Catholic Church at Madalla, Niger state, on Christmas Day 2011, and in the July 10, 2011 bombing of All Christian Fellowship Mission at Suleja, also in Niger state near Abuja. On trial are Shuaibu Abubakar, Salisu Ahmed, Umar Babagana-Umar, Mohammed Ali, Musa Adam and Umar Ibrahim.

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