Boko Haram denies ceasefire as anti-Christian violence rages

March 14, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

A leader of Islamist militant group Boko Haram has denied it has a ceasefire agreement with the government as atrocities against Christians in Nigeria continue unabated.

A torched Nigerian churchNegeria, March 12, 2013: In a video circulated last week, which also shows the beheading of a man accused of being an informant, Abubakar Shekau said, “We have never made a truce with anybody”.

It was a response to the declaration of a ceasefirein January by Sheikh Muhammed Abdulazeez Ibn Idris, who claimed to be a Boko Haram commander. His announcement was met with a high degree of scepticism and caution by the Nigerian authorities, not least because of the conditions attached to the so-called truce.

And as violence characteristic of the militant group, which is fighting to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria, rages on, Shekau’s ceasefire denial comes as no surprise.

Christian leaders in Nigeria have reported a number of deadly attacks. On Saturday 2 March, 13 Christian factory workers were shot dead by suspected Boko Haram gunmen. The militants stormed the residence of the factory workers in Sheka, Kano state, and demanded to know why the families were not observing the evening Islamic prayers.
Bishop Ransom Bello, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kano, said:

They responded by telling the visitors they were Christians and so could not be part of the Muslim gathering. At that point, they separated the men from their wives and children and shot them dead on the spot after ordering the women and children into their homes.

Those who survived the attack fled the area.

Elsewhere, in Mubi, Adamawa state, a number of Brethren churches have been targeted; the authorities have said that Boko Haram is responsible for the attacks.

A church in Samunaka on the outskirts of Mubi was attacked twice, on 1 and 4 February; eight Christians were killed and one church member received a gunshot wound. The church building and pastor’s office were set ablaze along with a number of Christian-owned homes.

Two other Brethren churches in the town were burned down on 2 and 3 February.

The violence has paralysed the Christian community in Mubi; they are said to be too afraid to leave their homes in the evenings, and fear of further Islamist violence is preventing them from attending church services.

The Rev. Daniel Yumuna of the Church of the Brethren said:

The crisis has created a lot of hardship for Christians, as even movement to eke out a living is restricted… Christians are even afraid of going to the market to buy food and other sundry items they need to survive.

Brethren leaders report that 14 of their pastors have been killed in northeast Nigeria and a number of their buildings, in Maiduguri, Borno state, and Damaturu and Potiskum in Yobe state, destroyed.

– barnabas team

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