Boko Haram seizes Christian town, declares Islamic caliphate as anti-Christian attacks in Nigeria increase

September 27, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Boko HaramAfrica, September 18, 2014: Boko Haram has seized a predominantly Christian town in Adamawa state in an attempt to expand the territory it holds in Northern Nigeria. The Islamist group has declared a caliphate – a united Islamic state under one ruler or caliph – in areas it has taken, further threatening vulnerable Christians.

It is not clear how many people were killed when the militants raided Michika, and nearby Bazza, on 8 September. A Christian source in Nigeria wrote:

They came and devastated Michika town today, burning and shooting. As I’m writing now there is no single person in the town… everybody has run for his or her dear life, hence I cannot tell you the level of damage right now. Keep praying for us.

A second source on the ground said that many people were killed and that others were carried away alive. It is also reported that at least one church building and a Bible school were destroyed, and that a member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives was abducted.

The raid came after at least 100 Christians were massacred, and two churches burned, by Boko Haram in a shocking attack on the predominantly Christian city of Gwoza in Borno state. After the city was seized on 6 August, the Islamist group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, declared that it was now “part of the Islamic caliphate”.

An Islamist flag was raised over Gwoza in an act mirroring that of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, now calling itself simply the Islamic State) who have been committing atrocities against Christians and others in Iraq. ISIS has also declared the restoration of the caliphate and intelligence agencies are concerned that the group has offered Boko Haram advice on strategy and tactics.

Boko Haram’s aim of turning Borno state into a caliphate is slowly being realised. Other towns in the north-east of the state have also been seized. Men over the age of 18 in the territory are being shot, and Christian women have been forced to convert on pain of death.

Islamist violence in border areas is also spilling over into Cameroon, where Nigerian Christian refugees and others are being affected.

Violence by Fulani herdsmen increases

Violence against Christians in Nigeria is not only being committed by Boko Haram. Attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen are increasing at an alarming rate, particularly in Kaduna state in the North and in the Middle Belt state of Taraba.

On 14 September Christians were killed and homes were burned in Tunari village, in the Wukari area of Taraba state, by Fulani herdsmen. It is not yet known exactly how many villagers were killed, but it is thought that at least 20 men, women and children died in the attack. The Christians were attending a Sunday worship service at the time of the violence.

It is thought that Fulani herdsmen behind attacks in Taraba have been collaborating with Islamic extremists.

A similar incident also occurred in Kaduna state, where Christians have endured repeated attacks. On 3 August, one person was killed and three others seriously injured in an assault by armed Fulani herdsmen as worshippers attended a morning church service in the village of Ungwan Powpow.

– barnabas team

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