By BosNewsLife Africa Service
MAIDUGURI/JOS (BosNewsLife)– Authorities in northern and central Nigeria tried to restore calm Saturday, December 25, after suspected Muslim militants targeted churches and other sites in Christmas Eve attacks that killed as many as 38 people, police and church leaders said.
Police chief Mohammed Abubakar told reporters that members of Boko Haram, a radical Muslim sect, attacked two churches in the northern city of Maiduguri late Friday, December 24.
Secretary of Victory Baptist Church, Danjuma Akawu, said about 30 men attacked his church on Christmas Eve, killing five people. The attackers reportedly threw petrol bombs igniting the building.
News reports said a Baptist pastor was among those killed. Nigerian Compass Newspaper identified the man as Reverend Bulus T. Narya.
Elsewhere in the city, a security guard died when three men attacked the Church of Christ in Nigeria, confirmed Reverend Haskanda Jessu.
“This is a worrisome situation and the government will do all it can to fish out the perpetrators of this evil act,” said governor of Borno State, Ali Sheriff, in a reaction.
‘ADEQUATE SECURITY NEEDED’
“We must ensure that adequate security is provided for all citizens to worship freely without fear of molestation.” Hundreds of people died in religious and ethnic clashes at the start of the year in the “Middle Belt”, the central region where the mostly-Muslim north meets the predominantly Christian south.
The Christmas Eve attacks came while in the central city of Jos over 30 people died in multiple bomb blasts, officials said. No one claimed responsibility for the blasts.
Choji Gyang, a special adviser to the governor of Nigeria’s Plateau state, said two bombs went off in the Angwa Rukuba area of Jos. Within five to 20 minutes, three more blasts happened in the area of Kabong, he said. “We have a lot of casualties and are struggling to cope,” Gyang admitted to reporters.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is under international pressure from human rights groups to improve security for Christians in especially Muslim areas.