A dozen killed in Christmas attacks by Nigerian militants

By staff writers
December 27, 2012

A dozen worshippers have been killed in two attacks by an extreme Islamist group operating in the north of Nigeria over the Christmas period.

Muslims who are regarded as "insufficiently Islamist" are also being targeted.

Church authorities in Nigeria had warned of possible bombings during the holiday season, as reported earlier this month on Ekklesia. http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17617

Church attendances were down by around 30 per cent as a result of fears about the country's security situation, but a large number of worshippers defied threats of violence to attend Christmas services.

One of the attacks occurred at the evangelical Church of Christ in Nations in Postikum, Yobe province. Gunmen attacked worshippers during prayer, killing six people, including the pastor, and setting their building on fire

Congregants also were attacked at the First Baptist Church in Maiduguri, Borno state on Christmas Eve. A deacon and five church members were killed.

More than 30 people died in a wave of Christmas Day attacks in the north last year. They have been blamed on militant group Boko Haram.

The attacks have been condemned by Pope Benedict, by human rights activists and by church and civic groups.

In October 2012 a report from Human Rights Watch addressed violence in northern Nigeria, particularly from Boko Haram.

It declared: "Suspected members of the group have bombed or opened fire on worshipers in at least 18 churches across eight northern and central states since 2010. In Maiduguri, the group also forced Christian men to convert to Islam on penalty of death."

[Ekk/3]

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