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Nigeria’s Christian Leaders Concerned After Hundreds of Muslim Radicals Escape From Prison

Washington, D.C. (September 8, 2010)–International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that more than 700 members of an Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram, escaped yesterday after suspected fellow members of the group raided a prison in Bauchi, northern Nigeria.

A group of armed men attacked the prison at 6:40 PM and fought with the prison guards for two hours. At least four people were reportedly killed during the shootout.

Boko Haram opposes western education and fights to impose Sharia law throughout Nigeria, including areas that are majority Christian. The group has repeatedly targeted the police and Christian communities.  
Christian leaders in northern Nigeria are alarmed by the massive escape of Boko Haram members. In July 2009, members of Boko Haram carried out attacks against Nigerian police officials leading to the death of more than 700 people. Members of Boko Haram also killed a dozen Christians, including Pastor Sabo Yakubu, Rev. Sylvester O. Akpan and Rev. George Orjhi.
 
“[The escape from prison] is a clear indication of anarchy. Boko Haram is a threat to Christians in northeastern part of Nigeria where Christians were killed, including pastors killed and church burned down. More people could be killed if they are not checked,” said Rev. John Hayab. Rev. Hayab is the General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigerian’s Kaduna State chapter. 

Jonathan Racho, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, said “We are extremely concerned by the escape of Boko Haram members from prison. This is yet another indication of the failure by Nigerian authorities to protect their citizens from the violence by Islamic extremist groups. We urge Nigerian officials to immediately rearrest the escapees and protect the citizens of the country from future attacks.”