Nigerian security forces have killed 13 militants suspected to be connected with Boko Haram on Tuesday. “Operation Restore Order” targeted the extremist group’s stronghold of Maiduguri where security forces engaged Boko Haram. This operation comes a little too late for some Christians living in northern Nigeria. Over the Christmas holiday, it is estimated that 34 Christians were killed. Some had their throats slit in their own homes while others were attacked by gunmen while attending church services. Hopefully Operation Restore Order is the first step to ending Christian persecution in northern Nigeria.
1/3/2012 Nigeria (ChristianPost) – The Nigerian armed forces have fought back against the Islamic militant group Boko Haram, killing 13 suspected combatants in an attack on their stronghold in the town of Maiduguri on Tuesday.
The news was confirmed by the Joint Task Force Operation Restore Order, who said that they lost one soldier in the gunfight, CNN reported. Military spokesman Sagir Musa said that that Boko Haram have been carrying out “incessant callous, brutal, barbaric and impious killings,” and Human Rights Watch estimate that the Islamic group, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege,” have killed more than 2,800 people in the last several years, including at least 34 since Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, raids on two separate churches resulted in the deaths of 12 worshippers, including a pastor. Another 15 Christians were massacred six days later on Sunday at another church in Northern Nigeria.
“We had warned that Boko Haram would continue its tradition of killing Nigerian Christians on Christmas day. Last week marked the third straight year that the terror group has murdered Nigerian Christians in the church on a Christmas day,” a statement by the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans noted, calling for more action on behalf of authorities.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has said that despite these setbacks, Nigeria has been battling the terrorists, and a number of those who carried out the attacks have been apprehended “as a result of the diligence and steadfastness of law enforcement agents and security operatives across the country.” Jonathan made the remarks at a New Year’s service at Saint Anglican Church in Abuja, but did not reveal how many in total were in custody, AllAfrica reported.
Boko Haram have been bombing and burning churches and attacking Christians across the Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria for years, specifically targeting Christians in their mission to eradicate them from the country.
“The Nigerian state and Christians are our enemies and we will be launching attacks on the Nigerian state and its security apparatus as well as churches until we achieve our goal of establishing an Islamic state in place of the secular state,” the militants stated in no uncertain terms back in June.
Despite the slaughter of Christians and innocent people in Nigeria, the U.S. government has been reluctant to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization, even though it has said some of its leaders are terrorists.