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Christian Villages in Chibok Area Fear More Deadly Attacks

09/27/2016 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Boko Haram insurgents killed at least two people yesterday when they attacked the Christian villages of Kuburumbula and Boftari in the Chibok area of Nigeria’s turbulent northeast. In addition to yesterday’s murders, Boko Haram militants also burned homes, vandalized shops, and destroyed various food products in the market square.

Gunmen first invaded Kuburumbula, a Christian majority village, causing the villagers to scatter. In the confusion, insurgents killed Nkekina Lalai, a Christian man, before the Nigerian military arrived to defeat the gunmen.

That is where I was born,” Pastor Filibus, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Chibok, told ICC. “It is about five to six kilometers away from Chibok town. The attack happened at about 4:00 p.m. yesterday. The insurgents burnt seven houses, vandalized shops, and set some products ablaze by the market square.” 

Later, insurgents attacked Boftari, another Christian majority village. During the attack, the insurgents caught Mallum Tela Madu, another Christian man, as he was attempting to escape. According to locals, the gunmen dragged Madu back into the village, tied him up with a rope, and “slaughtered” him in front of his wife and children.

These attacks continue to reveal Boko Haram’s new targeting strategy announced by Abu Musab al-Barnawi, allegedly the group’s new leader. According to an interview in the Islamic State’s Al-Naba magazine, Al-Barnawi is focusing Boko Haram’s resources on attacking Christian communities in Nigeria. Last week, Boko Haram killed at least eight Christians leaving the village church in Kwamjilari.

Attacks like these are tragedies in any context, but the recent violence is especially painful for the Chibok area where Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls in April 2014. Kuburumbula suffered the greatest number of kidnapped girls with approximately 47 of their daughters going missing. Now the village has to rebuild their homes, stores, and mourn the loss of another villager following this most recent attack. As the attacks increase in intensity and frequency, other villages are growing more terrified. “If not for the grace of God,” one village pastor confessed, “we in Chibok would not know what our fate would be.

ICC’s Regional Manager, William Stark, said, “For the second week in a row, we are mourning the loss of Christians in Nigeria who were murdered by Boko Haram militants. This string of attacks has us deeply concerned for the safety of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Chibok area of Nigeria’s northeast. After al-Barnawi’s declaration of war against Christians in Nigeria and the attacks last week, it is becoming clearer that Boko Haram is following through on al-Barnwi’s threats and targeting Nigeria’s Christian community. They are living in fear. ICC applauds the Nigerian government for its persistence in fighting Boko Haram, but urges for greater protection for the most vulnerable populations, especially Christians living in Nigeria’s northeast.