They Cry in Silence Sep/Oct 2014
NIGERIA—Since the Islamic extremist Boko Haram kidnapped more than 300 Christian high school girls in April, it has been relentlessly attacking Nigeria’s Christians, who now are trying to defend themselves because it appears elements in the Nigerian military are complicit in the attacks.
In June in Ataggara, three Christian leaders wrote in the Nigerian newspaper The Guardian, “Some people appeared in Nigerian Army issue in nine armored personnel carriers bearing the colors and insignia of the Nigerian Army. They announced to the villagers that they had come to assess the security situation. When the people gathered to hear them, the men that came in armored personnel carriers and in Army uniform opened fire and killed over 250 men, women and children.”
The assailants pursued those who fled into the bush and butchered them with knives or shot them to death.
“We are aware that the Nigerian military is a deeply divided fighting force,” they wrote. “As the Ataggara case above illustrates, when some Muslim commanding officers and others receive reports from our communities, they pass such reports to Boko Haram, who come in Nigerian Army issue uniforms to perpetrate pogroms in our communities.”
Suspected members of Boko Haram, which seeks to impose Sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria, reportedly undertook an equally insidious ruse on June 4 in Barderi, on the outskirts of the Borno state capital of Maiduguri. Pretending to be a few of the itinerant preachers common in Nigeria, the Islamic extremists gathered villagers for a homily on “the righteous path” at about 9:30 P.M., witnesses told Agence-France Presse.
After villagers had gathered, another set of insurgents joined the false preachers; and they opened fire on the crowd, the witnesses said. At least 45 men, women, and children were killed.
Enumerating attacks that killed from two to 46 people in each of nearly 50 other villages from mid-May to mid-June, three church leaders noted that the violence took place where Christianity is the dominant faith.
Suspected Boko Haram members launched another massive attack at the end of the month near Chibok, where the high school girls were kidnapped on April 15, spraying a church service in Kwada village with bullets on June 29 before burning homes. Scores of Christians were killed there and in neighboring Kautikari, and five church buildings in the villages were destroyed.
In Abuja, the Nigerian capital, Boko Haram bombed a shopping mall at the Emab Plaza on June 25, killing 24 people. Area witnesses told Morning Star News the mall includes a Christian bookstore and several Christian-owned stores. Boko Haram sought to maximize Christian fatalities, timing the explosion for 4 P.M., 15 minutes after many Muslims had left for the 3:45 P.M. prayer time at a nearby mosque.
“The bomb was targeted at the mall because there is a Christian bookshop where Bibles, Christian literature and videos are sold,” said a resident. “Also, all the shops that sell computers and accessories are owned by Christians.”
On June 14, Boko Haram members entered the church and planted bombs the night before more than 15,000 worshipers were due to arrive for services. Vigilant security guards reportedly alerted police and soldiers, who arrested six of the insurgents.
“In 2012, in a widely publicized video recording that is easily accessible on the Internet, Abubakar Shekau…announced the mission statement of his sect,” church leaders wrote. “Among other things, he said, ‘This war is not political. It is religious. It is between Muslims and unbelievers. It will stop when Islamic religion is the determinant in governance in Nigeria or, in the alternative, when all fighters are annihilated and no one is left to continue the fight.’”
by Morning Star News