International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that twelve Christians were brutally murdered by suspected Boko Haram militants in northern Nigeria over the weekend. According to reports, these Christians were killed in two attacks on separate Christian villages in Nigeria’s Muslim majority state of Borno.
The first attack took place on Saturday, December 28, in the Christian village of Tashan-Alede where eight people attending a wedding celebration were killed when militants connected with Boko Haram opened fire on the Christians gathered. According to the Christian Broadcasting Network, “One attack took place at a pre-wedding bachelor party. Suspected fighters from Boko Haram opened fire on the group, killing eight people.”
On December 29, the day after the attack on Tashan-Alede, suspected militants killed four more Christians when they attacked the neighboring village of Kwajffa. Security officials have confirmed the attacks took place but have yet to confirm casualty figures.
In an interview with The Associated Press, schoolteacher Yohana Jafa noted that the attacks on minority Christian villages in the predominantly Muslim region came hours after the leader of the Boko Haram terrorist network, Abubakar Shekau, “clearly stated that his war is against Christians.”
Boko Haram is an Islamic terrorist network group currently fighting the Nigerian government for control of northern Nigeria. Boko Haram desires to establish a separate Islamic state in Nigeria’s northern states where it can enact an ultra conservative interpretation of Sharia law. Since beginning its armed insurgency in 2009, Boko Haram has killed over thousands of people in Nigeria often targeting Christians for some of the most brutal acts of violence. In early 2012, Boko Haram leaders demanded all Christians to leave northern Nigeria so that the group could begin establishing its purely Islamic society. Since then, Boko Haram has perpetrated church bombings, drive-by shootings and Christian pogroms across northern Nigeria.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, William Stark, said, “Christians living in Nigeria’s northern regions continue to be the target of some of Boko Haram’s most brutal attacks. These attacks are meant to terrorize the Christian community that continues to live in northern Nigeria. The United States has designated Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization, which allows the U.S. to seize Boko Haram’s assets under U.S. jurisdiction and to take more direct action against the terrorist network. Unfortunately, actions like this have yet to be taken. This would help stem the flow of arms and funds the group receives from sources outside Nigeria’s borders. The consistency of Boko Haram’s attacks on Christians and government institutions has shown that Nigeria’s government is struggling to deal with the violence that has dominated its northern states since 2009. The international community must take decisive action.”