Killer Islamist terror at Catholic church in Nigeria

 

At least eight people are dead in northern Nigeria, following a terrorist bombing attack at a Catholic church in the Malali area of Kaduna. More than 100 people were injured by the blast at St Rita’s parish on October 28. The bomber was also killed in the blast in which a four-wheel drive vehicle was driven into the church. A wall of the church has collapsed and now lies scorched and blackened. Debris is found strewn nearby as police have closed off the area. Nearby buildings were also damaged by the blast. In previous attacks, bombers had failed to actually enter the targeted churches and instead had detonated their explosive devices outside or in nearby parking areas.
 
 Kaduna is a city that has representatives of various ethnic groups and religions and lies along and invisible fault line that divided the largely Muslim north from southern Nigeria, which is largely Christian. A statement by the National Emergency Management Agency reported eight confirmed deaths and more than 100 injured. While there has not emerged any claim of responsibility for the deadly blast, there are distinct suspicions that the Islamist terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, may be responsible. The violent anti-Christian group has owned to other crimes against Christians and fellow Muslims who are deemed insufficiently Muslim. Earlier this month, the group went to a university in northern Nigeria where they examined students as to their religious identity. Those who identified themselves as Christians and refused to recant were beheaded.
 
The deadly blast sparked revenge killings in Kaduna. Young Christian men took to the streets armed with knives, machetes and bludgeons. According to a Reuters report, at least two bodies were seen in the city lying in pools of blood – apparent victims of reprisals.  Some young men vowed to kill more Muslims in revenge.  Police have set up roadblocks and are seeking arrests.
 
Since 2009, the deaths of nearly 3,000 people have been attributed to the Boko Haram Islamist separatist movement since 2009. Boko Haram’s stated purpose is to establish a Muslim state in Nigeria that espouse sharia – Muslim religious law that must be obeyed by all persons, Muslims and non-Muslims.  Nigeria has a population of 160 million people are nearly split evenly between Muslims and non-Muslims.  Most of Boko Haram’s victims are Muslims who were felled in northeast Nigeria, where the sect has focused on politicians, police and military.
 
At least 2,800 people have died in fighting since Boko Haram's insurrection began in 2009, according to Human Rights Watch. Most were Muslims in the northeast of the country, where the sect usually attacks politicians and security forces.
 
St Gerard's Catholic hospital in Kaduna is currently treating 14 injured.  Another hospital is treating another 84 victims of the bomb. Residents of Kaduna fled to their homes in terror. A similar bomb attack in June 2012 triggered a week of violence and reprisals, bringing about the deaths of at least 90 people. So far, the Obama administration has not yet designated Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, despite the group's serial violence and connections to Al-Qaeda.


Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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