Islamist extremists march against Nigeria - church buildings destroyed, dozens killed
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/1/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Militant Islamists - typified by the Boko Haram in the African nation of Nigeria, have marched across the country, setting church buildings afire and killing dozens. Witnesses say that the Nigerian military was very slow to act in preventing the latest violence.
Vice-President Namadi Sambo, in red robes, looks at the scene of a bomb blast blamed on Boko Haram at a shopping mall in Abuja, Nigeria that left 21 people dead and several others injured last week.
LOS ANGLELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Gunfire was lobbed against worshipers and four churches were burned to the ground in a village just miles from the town where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped this past weekend.
At least 30 bodies have been recovered. More corpses have been turning up in the bushes, where people tried to escape from Kwada village.
"They killed dozens of people and burned houses after attacking worshipers," one survivor said by telephone from Chibok town, to which had he escaped.
Some of the buildings destroyed included the Protestant Church of Christ in Nigeria, the Pentecostal Deeper Life Bible Church and Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa, which is Hausa for Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, which was started by American missionaries from Illinois in the 1920s.
Attackers went on to neighboring village of Kautikari, where they gunned down villagers and burned down homes. The death toll there is not yet known.
Chibok is the town in northeast Borno state from which more than 200 girls were abducted in April. Officials say 219 girls remain captive.
In the meantime, angry Chibok residents say soldiers were slow to respond to news of the attack, and the vigilantes said that once they reached Kwada, the soldiers refused to confront the extremists directly, only shooting at them from a distance outside the village.
Boko Haram extremists attacked a military camp in the neighboring local government area of Damboa last week and killed at least 51 soldiers.
In that attack, survivors said they came in armored personnel carriers mounted with anti-aircraft guns and were armed with rocket launchers and submachine guns much heavier than the soldiers' AK47 assault rifles. The insurgents abducted many soldiers who remain missing, they said.
Boko Haram extremists are demanding the release of detained fighters in return for the kidnapped girls.
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has been criticized for his slow reaction to the abductions and failure to swiftly rescue the girls. The United States has drones flying to help locate them and other nations have sent experts to help, but negotiations have stalled.
"The president commiserates with all the families who lost loved ones in the heinous attacks and extends his heartfelt sympathies to all those who suffered injuries or lost their properties during the wanton assaults on Bauchi and Kaduna States," said a statement. He promised the attackers would be brought to justice.
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