Church worshippers, mourners gunned down in Nigeria

KANO, January 7 – A fresh wave of violence targeting Christians claimed by Islamist group Boko Haram has rocked Nigeria, with around 20 people killed in attacks on mourners and church worshippers.
The deadliest of the attacks hit the town of Mubi in northeastern Nigeria on Friday, when five gunmen opened fire on Christian Igbos at a house as they mourned the death of a friend killed in a shooting the night before.
Various death tolls were given. Residents and a relief official reported up to 17 dead, while police said 12 were killed, with between two and five people killed the previous night in the same town.
On Thursday evening, gunmen stormed a church in the northeastern city of Gombe and opened fire as worshippers had their eyes closed in prayer, killing six people, including the pastor’s wife.
The attacks further intensified fears the violence could lead to religious clashes in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.
A purported spokesman for Islamist group Boko Haram, blamed for scores of attacks in Nigeria, had on Sunday issued a three-day ultimatum for Christians to leave the north.
The same spokesman, Abul Qaqa, claimed responsibility for the attacks at the church and on the mourners, adding they were in response to the ultimatum.
He also said a state of emergency declared in hard hit areas last weekend by President Goodluck Jonathan would not stop the sect.
“We are responsible for the attacks in Mubi and Gombe,” the purported spokesman, who has claimed to be speak on behalf of Boko Haram numerous times in the past, told journalists in the northeastern city of Maiduguri by phone.
“We are extending our frontiers to other places to show that the declaration of a state of emergency by the Nigerian government will not deter us…. We can really go to wherever we want to go.”
He called on the federal government to release all arrested Boko Haram members as a condition for attacks to stop.
“The attacks are part of our response to the ultimatum we gave to southerners to leave the north,” he said.
Jonathan declared the state of emergency on December 31 in parts of four states hard hit by the attacks blamed on Boko Haram, but there has been no halt to the violence.
Mubi, located in Adamawa state near the Cameroon border, and Gombe are not part of the areas under the state of emergency decree.
Mobs also fired into the air and explosions were heard in the northeastern city of Potiskum on Friday evening, residents said. Potiskum falls under the state of emergency decree and has previously been hit by heavy violence.
“I am now trapped in a friend’s house overlooking the (police) headquarters,” said a trader not far from the police station in the city of Potiskum.
“Gunmen who are from all indications members of Boko Haram came in large numbers and have encircled police headquarters. They chanted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and fired indiscriminately.”
While Boko Haram has been blamed for increasingly deadly attacks for months, including an August suicide bombing of UN headquarters in Abuja that killed 25, the violence has taken on a different dimension with recent church attacks.
A wave of Christmas bombings that killed 49 people, most of them outside of a Catholic church as services were ending, led to intense fear and outrage in Africa’s largest oil producer.
There have been fears of reprisals from Christians, and Christian leaders have warned they will defend themselves if attacks against them continue.
Boko Haram is a shadowy group believed to have a number of factions with differing aims, including those with political links and a hard-core Islamist faction.
It launched an uprising in 2009 put down by a brutal military assault which left some 800 people dead.
Since the group re-emerged in 2010, it has been blamed for increasingly sophisticated and deadly attacks, including suicide bombings, and its structure and aims have become far less clear.
Speculation has ranged from whether the group is seeking to foment religious conflict to if elements of it have been co-opted for political aims.

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  • Terry4great

    what is the way forward? we are tired of stories and report. we need immediate solutions.

  • Tt

    When this islamic violence going stop??

  • http://twitter.com/eugyno eugene okoh

    This marks the end of the fraudulent entity called NIGERIA…This moslems are blood suckers..http://naijabiz,lefora.com

  • Joe

    It senseless n barbaric to kill, it worst to kill for religion. All Religion have a Comandment “Thou Shall Not Kill”
    Politics,Power n Money (ppl at the top) under the guise of religion is alway the cause of it.

  • http://my.opera.com/DrM172/ Ma’aji Caleb Zonkwa

    Muslims Must Stand Up Against the Horrific Attacks Against Christians in Nigeria BY Imam Mohamed Magid Posted: 12/27/11 04:18 PM ET In the Name of God The Most Gracious, Most MercifulDear Fellow Brothers and Sisters in Islam, it is with great sadness that we have heard the devastating news of the deplorable acts of violence committed against our brothers and sisters of the Christian faith in Nigeria. Our prayers go out to the family, friends and community of all those who have lost loved ones and those who were injured. These horrific acts of violence demand from us Muslims and people of all faiths around the globe to stand up against all those who perpetrate such horrific acts. Violence of any kind against any people cannot be ignored. Transgressions against people’s rights are occurring today across all boundaries. Regardless of what perpetrators of such acts claim to hold over any other person, to live safely is a right, and we must all stand up to protect the right for all people. “Stand for justice even if it is against yourself” (Quran Surat-un-Nisa, Chapter 4, Verse 135).It is those who truly know the religion of Islam who, despite our differences, engage in peaceful dialogue and wholeheartedly forsake acts of violence like this. As dedicate worshippers we recognize that an injustice in one part of the world is never validated by another injustice. Human life is sacred and it is never acceptable to take a person’s life to promote a political agenda. Violence is never the answer. We must create a community of harmony with and respect for others. This is the example of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the teachings of our faith. In a time of our history, Muslims were persecuted to the point that they had to flee from their homes, and we must remember it was the gracious Christian King of Abyssinia who opened his arms, welcoming the Muslims to live safely in his land, under his protection. He helped us preserve the tradition of our Prophet and the peaceful and loving religion of Islam. Muslims must use the King’s example in all of our interactions with people of other faiths. Umar ibn al-Khattāb, the second leader of the Muslim community after Prophet Muhammad’s death (May God be pleased with him), out of respect for the Church decided not to pray in a Jerusalem Church so that Muslims would not incorrectly feel that they had any entitlement to take it over in the future. He taught us that it is the responsibility of Muslims to protect the religions and religious places of worship in lands in which Muslims are the majority or minority. The beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever violates the rights of the People of the Book, I will complain against them on the Day of Judgment.” There is none amongst us who wants to be complained against by our Beloved Prophet and teacher. Those who committed injustices against the Christians of Nigeria have distanced themselves from the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and from his love on the Last Day. Our community must take a strong stand against these criminals and stand beside the innocent people of Nigeria. We, as Muslims, will answer the call of Archbishop John Onaiyekan who called on Muslims to stand against the murderers, as this is not a representation of any aspect of Islam. We stand by the Archbishop during this time and we share with you the words of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad Ibn Abdullah:This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by God! I hold out against anything that displeases them.No compulsion is to be on them.Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet.Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.The Muslims are to fight for them.If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).We have the example of those before us, like the King of Abyssinia, and we have the example of those among us, like Pastor James Wuye and his friend, Imam Muhammad Ashafa. During violent clashes against each other in their days as youth in Nigeria, each suffered the loss of loved ones as the hands of the other. After years of being set on revenge the two were brought together and abandoned their hopes for revenge, opting instead for the hope of harmony and peace. Together, as friends of different faiths, they have established the Interfaith Mediation Center of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Forum in Nigeria. Their courage and determination to rise above evil is what we must all strive toward. That is the teaching of all of our faiths, and the path to peaceful living. Violence against religious minorities should outrage every Muslim with a conscience because such violence is a misrepresentation of our beloved Prophet Muhammad and transgression of the core of our beliefs. It is a distortion of the beautiful message of Islam. The Muslim community must be leaders in standing against violence. This is the responsibility of the Muslims of Nigeria and Muslims all around the world. I call upon my fellow imams, Muslim scholars and American Muslims to stand against the actions of those who attacked Christian churches. I have asked the King of Jordan, the Council of Muslims Scholars and the leaders of Tunisia to convene a Muslim scholars’ conference to protect the rights of minorities in Muslim-majority countries, and they have accepted. We must continue this effort by establishing a council specifically for Muslims and Christians, and work together with the International Interfaith Peace Corps, a new organization, to address the issues of conflict and violence taking place between communities of faith. And we should help to establish leadership roles to reconcile these differences. In addition, we must incorporate into our community curriculums the prophetic examples of how to work together with people of other faiths. And finally the Muslims of Nigeria, and around the world, must be the example by helping our Christian brothers and sisters to rebuild the destroyed churches and take care of the victims of Nigeria, just as my mosque community, by the Grace of God, was able to do for the churches in Pakistan. “O YOU who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of anyone lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. Be just: this is closest to being God-conscious. And remain conscious of God: verily, God is aware of all that you do” (Quran Surat Al-Maidah, Chapter 5, Verse 8).We pray that God will help us to stand for what is right and leave all that is evil and promote understanding and harmony amongst each other. Let us work together to stop violence of all forms against all people. The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has served the Muslims of this continent for more than 40 years. ISNA is one of the Largest and a Premier National Muslim Organization that attracts more than40,000 Muslims at its Annual Convention and Coordinates with several hundred Mosques across the USA. All Dulles Area Muslim Societ y(ADAMS) is one of the largest Muslim communities/mosques in the DC Metro ADAMS serves more than 6,000 families and has 10 branches in Virginia/D.C.