Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Attacks On Church Leaves 16 Nigerian Christians Dead

Nigeria's Muslim sect Boko Haram attacked church services Bayero University's campus in the northern part of the country today.

Small soda cans filled with explosives and smoke bombs were hurled into the church to drive the worshipers outside, where gunmen lay in ambush. Hundreds were injured, and at least 16 people are known to have died.

The university is in the predominantly Muslim north of the country.

Boko Haram is a jihadist group who is waging war on Nigeria's federal government.They want all Muslim prisoners held by the government to be released and for sharia law to be imposed on all of Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa.Boko Haram has been responsible for over 450 killings this year alone, mostly Christians and government officials.A Christmas Day suicide bombing of a Catholic church in Madalla near Nigeria's capital killed at least 44 people.In January, a coordinated assault on government buildings and other sites in Kano took at least 185 lives.

In a separate attack earlier in the week, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing at the offices of the influential newspaper ThisDay in Nigeria’s capital Abuja and an attack on an office the publication shared with others in the city of Kaduna. Seven people died. Boko Haram stated that this is going to be part of an ongoing campaign against newspapers and journalists who 'defame Islam' or write articles criticizing the movement:

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has called on Nigerians to join forces against terrorism as he visited the Abuja offices of the newspaper This Day that were destroyed in a bomb attack this week.

During his visit Saturday, Mr. Jonathan said the country is pouring every possible resource to fight the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which has claimed responsibility for the blast. The president did not rule out the possibility of negotiating with the group.

“You see when you have a terror situation, you also look at the global best practice all over the world. Most countries passed through that, just like in war situations, you may dialogue [or] you may not dialogue, depending on the circumstances. But we will exploit every means possible.''

President Jonathan said that a terror attack on any part of Nigeria is an attack on all Nigerians and the world.

The owner of the newspaper, Nduka Obaigbena, said the attack was an assault on free speech, which, he said, must be defended.

“As I have said before, what is not worth dying for is not worth living for. We will defend free speech; we will defend the constitution. We will publish the truth. No matter what, we will never surrender.''

Nigeria has the misfortune to be located on what have aptly been called Islam's bloody borders. The North of the country is primarily Muslim, the rest is Christian and animist. As the eighth largest oil exporter in the world Nigeria represents a rich prize for the jihadis if they can take it over, as well as a strong base in West Africa.

No comments: