By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– A committee of Nigeria’s government was investigating Thursday, August 4, how to overcome rapidly spreading Islamic violence, after two weekend bomb explosions near churches in mainly Muslim areas.
The blasts rocked the central city of Jos where one bomb exploded on Saturday night, July 30, in the Angwan Rimi area near a Baptist Church, according to local Christians. No one was injured as the building was not used because of previous damage caused by Muslim extremists, news reports said.
A second bomb reportedly exploded early Sunday morning, July 31, near a Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) building on Sarkin Mangu Street and an Assemblies of God sanctuary in the Kwarrarafa Area, police said.
No one was reportedly injured in either of the explosions. There was no claim of responsibility for the attacks, which happened in an area where prominent Islamic leaders live.
The explosions came a week after five persons were killed in violence that broke out on July 26 between Muslims and Christians in the Angwan Rukuba area of Jos.
The bomb blasts added to a sense of government committee, inaugurated Tuesday, August 2, to investigate Islamic militants of the Boko Haram, which launched a brief and violent uprising against the government in July 2009.
The group has since been blamed for a string of bombings and shootings that have targeted churches, public gathering places, and authority figures such as police officers, clergy, and government officials.
The committee was originally tasked with opening negotiations with the militants, but the secretary to the Nigerian government, Anyim Pius Anyim, said this week those plans have been postponed.
“That should be the second leg of the assignment. You don’t negotiate with who you don’t know,” he told the Voice of America (VOA) network. “We don’t know these people. They are faceless. You don’t negotiate with the air. We are providing a forum where whatever information you have, whatever opinion you have, whatever suggestion you have, relay it to this body,” Anyim added.
Much remains unknown about Boko Haram, including its size, leadership and level of organization. The government committee’s seven members have two weeks to assess the security challenges in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State in what is believed to be the first real step toward a non-military solution regarding Boko Haram.
The group has made clear it wants Sharia, or Islamic law, to have a more prominent role in Nigerian society.
Independent security analysts say Boko Haram is a symptom of larger issues in the north including poverty and a sense of alienation from the central government in Abuja.
Christian churches and rights groups have urged the government to step up security measures to help protect Christiansin especially Muslim areas of the African nation.