Boko Haram, a radical Islamic insurgency bent on establishing a separate Islamic state in northeast Nigeria to be ruled by Sharia law, has waged a multi-year campaign of terror against Christians living in the north. In response, Christians are rising up and demanding that their government see to the end of the insurgency and restore peace to northern Nigeria. According to agreed upon estimates, Boko Haram has killed more than 13,000 civilians over the course of its existence, including nearly 1,800 Christians this year alone.
11/28/2014 Nigeria (World Watch Monitor) – Hundreds of Christians, displaced by the Islamist insurgency in Nigeria’s North, have been staging protests to express their anger over the government failure to protect them as fresh attacks which claimed scores of lives in the region.
On Nov. 25, at least 78 people were killed when two suicide bombers attacked a market in northern Nigeria’s Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, one of the most affected by the insurgency. A day before, suspected Boko Haram militants disguised as traders attacked Damasak town, near the Niger border, killing at least 48.
The demonstrators, from the northern states of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe and others, gathered Nov. 17 at the headquarters of the Church of the Brethren, or EYN Church, in Jos, the capital of Plateau state, in Nigeria’s center.
One of the protesters, Hannatu Ishaku, had lost her husband and two sons in a night raid on their hometown of Damboa earlier this year. She said the morning following the raid, the villagers who had fled returned to the village to assess the extent of damage. That’s when she found the bodies of her husband, Yohanna Ishaku, and her two sons near a church building in the village.
“Maybe they had taken refuge at the church building when they fell into the hands of the attackers,” she said, sobbing.
Hannatu is left with two daughters. Along with thousands of Christians, they have sought refuge in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
The protest attempted to draw attention to the plight of internally displaced people, and to what they consider to be neglect by the federal government.
The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria for the North Central Zone, Daniel Kadzai, said Christians in the north have lost confidence in the government’s ability to deal with the crisis.
‘‘The Federal Government has toyed with the lives and limbs of the Christians in Northern Nigeria for political gains.
“There is no explanation the government can give as to why the Federal troops will run away from the towns prior to the attack on such towns by Boko Haram without putting up any resistance, if the government does not have a hand in the whole genocide on Northern Christians as is being speculated in the local and foreign media,’’ Kadzai said.