By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– Christians in Nigeria were mourning their dead Tuesday, January 27, after nearly 100 people were killed by suspected Islamic militants in the country’s troubled northeast, including at a church service.
The fighters, who were believed to be members of the Islamist group Boko Haram, killed 22 people by setting off bombs and firing into the congregation in the Catholic church of Waga Chakawa village in Adamawa state on Sunday, January 25, officials said.
Soon after, they began burning houses and taking residents hostage during a four-hour siege, in which reportedly many more died.
Local Chairman Maina Ularamu told reporters that investigators recovered 45 bodies, including those of two police officers.
The spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Yola, Reverend Father Raymond Danbouye, said 22 people killed in the church itself were buried at a funeral on Monday, January 27. It was not immediately clear when the other victims would be buried.
“The whole village has been razed by Boko Haram and there were still loud explosions from different directions as I left, with bodies littering the village,” said resident Bulama Kuliri, who narrowly escaped, in an interview with Reuters news agency.
In a separate assault in nearby Borno state, attackers set off several explosions in Kawuri village, after launching their assault near the weekly market as vendors were packing up on Sunday night, security officials said.
Authorities said at least 52 people died and the entire village was burned down, including 300 homes.
Two improvised explosive devices that were left behind went off Monday morning, narrowly missing security personnel who were collecting bodies in Kawuri, news reports said. Officials blamed Boko Haram militants for
The attacks in Borno and Adamawa states resulted in one of the highest death tolls in recent attacks by militants who are defying an 8-month old military state of emergency in three states in northern Nigeria designed to halt an Islamic uprising there, observers said.
Boko Haram, or ‘Western education is a sin’, has been fighting for an independent Islamic state and wants to impose Sharia, or Islamic law, in areas under its control. Christians have been ordered by the group to leave the northern area.
Nearly 200 people were killed this month alone in attacks by suspected members of Boko Haram in the area around the city of Maiduguri, the birthplace of the group.
A January 14, a car bomb exploded in Maiduguri, reportedly killed about 70 people. Though several officials blamed Boko Haram, the state governor suggested it was the work of political opponents.
Other attacks have forced the flight of hundreds of villagers in about 30 farming communities around Maiduguri, the Associated Press news agency reported. Some of the displaced are camping on the outskirts of the state capital. More than 5,000 refugees have fled the violence to Cameroon and Niger this month, said the United Nations.
Many Christians are believed to be among the refugees.
President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, has been under pressured to improve security. Last week, Jonathan replaced his chiefs of defence, army, navy and air force last week in a widespread military shake-up, a move security experts believe was at at changing change of tactics in combating Boko Haram.
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004).
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