48 Dead, 6 Churches Burned in Borno State Attacks Following 21-Parishioner Massacre at Gwoza Town Church
05/29/2014 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that suspected Boko Haram militants burned down six churches and killed eight civilians in an attack on Chinene Village in Borno State late on May 26. In a number of other attacks across the predominantly Christian region, suspected Boko Haram militants killed 40 others, most of whom were unarmed civilians.
Chinene, a small village located in predominantly Christian Gwoza area 80 miles from Borno State’s capital city of Maiduguri, suffered an attack by multiple suspected Boko Haram militants with AK-47s who entered on motorcycles. According to the Daily Post, an online Nigerian newspaper, an eyewitness recounted, “Some terrorists came to our community on Monday night while we were asleep; they shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Arabic, meaning God is Great and shot sporadically at fleeing residents, killing eight people, while two others sustained gunshot injuries… After the sporadic shots, they set ablaze two of our churches.” Reporting a higher level of destruction, a local government official, Nglamuda Ibrahim, told Osun Defender, “In last night’s attack… six churches were burned.”
The attack was but one in a series. According to the Premium Times, “More than 40 were killed, and several others who escaped made it to Kirenowa Village with serious injuries,” in what Vanguard has termed a “four-hour reign of terror.” The Premium Times reported, “The insurgents also hoisted their flags in Ashigashiya ward of Gwoza Local Government Area… which they have now declared their headquarters.” Thursday, May 29, President Goodluck Jonathan said, “I am determined to protect our democracy, our national unity and our political stability, by waging a total war against terrorism,” in a televised speech on Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
The rampage followed a separate attack in which suspected Boko Haram militants reportedly massacred 21 members of a church in Gwoza town, according to the Daily Post.
Boko Haram, which translates roughly as “Western education is forbidden,” is a radical Islamic insurgency designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the United States Department of State in November of 2013. Made famous by its mass-abduction of more than 240 schoolgirls from a secondary school in Chibok, the group was recently recognized by a United Nations Security Council Committee as a known affiliate of al-Qaeda. Responsible for 12,000 deaths over the course of its existence, Boko Haram has killed more than 1,500 Christians, civilians, educators, and security personnel this year alone.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Cameron Thomas, said, “We are appalled by this latest series of attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram militants against defenseless Christians and their communities. The culture of impunity in the increasingly lawless Nigerian northeast has allowed Boko Haram to nearly eliminate once vibrant Christian communities that lived at peace with their Muslim neighbors. While the Nigerian state has promised to dedicate every resource in waging a ‘total war’ on Boko Haram, more must be done to ensure the safety and security of the largest African nation’s Christian and civilian populations.”
For interviews, contact Cameron Thomas, Regional Manager for Africa: RM-Africa@persecution.org
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