Borno attack


AFRICA

Christmas-eve worshipers killed in Nigeria

In separate Christmas-Eve attacks, Gunmen stormed churches in the northern Nigerian states of Yobe and Borno, killing a total of 12 people, including a pastor and deacon, several news agencies have independently reported.
  1. This Storyify report contains information as of 12/28/12 at 00:00 GMT
  2. TweepQreatif
    And I Thought We're Having A Violence-Free Christmas. "Gunmen Kill Six At Christmas Church Service In Yobevanguardngr.com/2012/12/gun..."
  3. The facts

  4. Yobe attack
    According to Reuters, one of the attacks took place on a congregation "outside the town of Potiskum in northeastern Yobe state."
    Potiskum is the capital of the northeastern state of Yobe. A witness told Agence France-Presse the target was a local congregation of the Evangelical Church of West Africa. Reports published later identified the church as The Church of Christ in Nations.
  5. According to Reuters:
    "Unknown gunmen attempted to attack Potiskum but were repelled by the troops. While they were fleeing, they attacked a church in a village known as Jiri," said military spokesman Eli Lazarus, who confirmed that six people were killed.

    "A group of gunmen came into the village at midnight and went straight to the church," Usman Mansir, a resident of Peri village near Potiskum, told AFP. "They opened fire on them, killing the pastor and five worshippers. They then set fire to the church."

    This same quote, attributed to the same person, was used by several different news agencies in their early reports on the attack.

    No news reports to date have provided a count on the number of attackers.

    The BBC quoted Idi Garba, head of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Yobe:

    Some worshipers who lived near the church "fled their homes during the attack and it is assumed that they are still hiding in the bush."
  6. Borno attack
    The other incident occurred in Maiduguri, the capital and largest city of Borno state, in the extreme northeast corner of Nigeria.
  7. Little has been reported about the attack in Maiduguri. According to CNN, the target was the First Baptist Church, where a deacon and five members of the church were killed. News accounts have not yet specified the exact time of the attack, other than to say it occurred on Christmas Eve.
  8. Responsibility

  9. Though no person or group has yet publicly claimed responsibility for the killings, news accounts have immediately placed the militant Islamic group Boko Haram under suspicion. Yobe state is the western neighbor to Borno state, the home of Boko Haram, which has been attacking Christian churches and government institutions in an attempt to impose an Islamic state across northern Nigeria.


    Boko Haram has been widely suspected to have carried out a spate of Christmas attacks in 2011 that killed dozens of people in northern and central Nigeria.


    According to CNN: "The [2012] Christmas attack came as families whose kin died in last year's killings delivered graveside prayers for a peaceful holiday period."
  10. Assurances of security

  11. Earlier this week, the Nigerian Joint Task Force, a subdivision of the country's armed forces, issued a statement assuring Nigerians of security for the holiday. According to Nigeria's The Guardian:

    The JTF said some security measures it put in place recently have remarkably reduced the incessant attacks and killings by the Boko Haram terrorists in the state, noting that it has not recorded any killing in the last two weeks in the state.

    The assurances were contained in a statement [Saturday, Dec. 22] in Damaturu by the JTF spokesman, Lt. Col Lazarus Eli, to the effect that the improved security measures were to safeguard lives and property during the Christmas and New Year festivities.
  12. Prayers for peace

  13. In his Christmas Day message, Pope Benedict XVI had special words for Africa and Nigeria:
    "May the Birth of Christ favour the return of peace in Mali and that of concord in Nigeria, where savage acts of terrorism continue to reap victims, particularly among Christians."
  14. About this Storify

  15. This Storify report is published by World Watch Monitor. The Monitor reports on the persecution of Christians worldwide. Feeback welcome: info@worldwatchmonitor.org



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