Nigeria on Edge
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|Martin Barillas||June 23rd 2012|
Cutting Edge Senior Correspondent
|Car bomb wreckage in Kaduna, Nigeria.|
There is alarm in the Christian community in Nigeria after the terrorist group Boko Haram, which has continued its attacks on Christians, issued a threat to carry out new attacks in order to make June "the bloodiest month for Christians." The Islamic sect has vowed to purge northern Nigeria of Christians in an effort to eventually impose Muslim religious law over the entire country.
The group said it has trained about 300 suicide bombers ready to attack the Christian churches in the states of Plateau and Kaduna (southern Nigeria). On Sunday June 17, Boko Haram conducted a series of coordinated car bomb attacks at churches in Kaduna in which scores of Christians were killed. Fighting between Christians and Muslims ensued in Kaduna, and then later in northeastern city of Damaturu. The army has struggled to maintain order in the region, as President Goodluck Jonathan has been increasingly criticized for his apparent ineffectuality. Boko Haram, for its part, says it has recruited the sons and daughters of Muslims killed during the recent sectarian conflict by providing weapons and bombs manufactured in Mauritania and Somalia.
Boko Haram has announced further attacks on government buildings in the states of Kano, Kaduna, Yobe and Gombe, as well as a demonstrative major attack on the Federal Capital territory, ie in the capital Abuja, to show the world that "the Nigerian security forces will not be able to stop us."
In past weeks, authorities ordered a curfew to restore order, as happened in the states of Kaduna and Yobe, with varying success. The Christian churches ask for more protection in five states in northern and central Nigeria, object of attacks in the past. In a statement sent to Fides, the NGO Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), calls on the authorities "to respond to these threats, strengthening the protection of innocent civilians, to defuse any risk of retaliation."
According to the Fides news service, a local non-governmental organization repoted "Boko Haram has once again shown its links with Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al Shabaab militia in Somalia," therefore "it is a phenomenon that goes beyond the borders of Nigeria: International cooperation is essential to destroy sponsors, supporters and the training network."
Martin Barillas also edits Speroforum.