Armed men, who are suspected to be Islamist Boko Haram militants, killed at least 62 people in northeast Nigeria, including at a church service. The region is where Boko Haram seeks to impose Islamic religious law and has been battling Nigeria's security forces. In the most recent attack, the insurgents used explosives and automatic fire to kill their victims.
Insurgents killed 22 people at a Catholic church in Waga Chakawa, a village in Adamawa state, while worshippers were attending Sunday Mass on January 26. The assailants killed members of the congregation with automatic fire and various explosives before also setting homes on fire and taking residents hostage during a four-hour siege.
On January 27, in another armed assault, at least 40 people were murdered in Kawuri village, in remote northeastern Borno state. According to Nigerian security officials, no group has claimed responsibility. However, Boko Haram is said to be suspected.
President Goodluck Jonathan is struggling to contain Boko Haram in the country's northeast corner, where the sect launched an uprising in 2009. Boko Haram, which wants to impose sharia law on a country split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims, has killed thousands over the past four and a half years. It is considered the biggest security risk in Africa's top petroleum exporter and second largest economy after South Africa.
The favorite targets for Boko Haram have traditionally been security forces, politicians who oppose them and Christian minorities in the largely Muslim north. Whole villages have been swept clean of any Christian presence. Speaking for the Catholic Diocese of Yola, Fr Raymond Danbouye confirmed 22 people killed in the church at Waga Chakawa were buried on January 27. The settlement is close to the border of Borno state, where the second attack occurred that killed at least 40 people.
“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 Bulama Kuliri, a local resident who narrowly escaped.