Islamist militants kill, kidnap Christians in north-east Nigeria

A Nigerian soldier on patrol in Banki, in the northeastern state of Borno (PHOTO: Florian Plaucheur/AFP/The Defense Post)

Originally published in Morning Star News

 Islamic extremist militants in northeast Nigeria attacked a predominantly Christian village near Chibok, Borno state on Sunday morning (November 1), killing 12 Christians and kidnapping women and children, sources said.

In Takulashi, less than 10 miles from Chibok, where Boko Haram insurgents kidnapped 276 Christian girls in 2014, the assailants arrived with automatic weapons on six gun-trucks and three heavy-duty vehicles and shot anyone in sight, said area resident Ishaku Musa.

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“They also burned down houses and looted food items from our houses,” Musa told Morning Star News by text message. “At the end of the shootings and looting, which lasted about two hours, 12 of our people in the community were killed, three women were kidnapped and also four children were abducted by the Boko Haram attackers.”

A church pastor was among those killed. Villagers suspected the assailants were militants of Boko Haram, which seeks to impose sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria, as the group is known for attacking villages and Christian communities, whereas a Boko Haram breakaway group, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), usually attacks military installations.

The terrorists invaded the village at about 9am, when church services were taking place, Musa said.

The Rev Zakariya Musa of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, EYN), said nine of the 12 people killed were members of his church, and that one of the three others slain was the pastor of the village’s Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) congregation. He termed the other two people killed as “vigilantes,” defenders who would have come from within the Christian community.

Musa said in a statement to church members that many Christians of the village were still missing. An EYN team was presenting scholarships to orphans in Chibok who had lost parents to Boko Haram attacks when they received word from Musa that those killed were “nine EYN members, two vigilantes and a pastor of the COCIN .

Of the 276 girls that Boko Haram kidnapped from a high school in predominantly Christian Chibok in April 2014, 57 escaped from their captors and 107 were released after government negotiations, while 112 are still in captivity.

On January 30 Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. CSI issued the call in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.”

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