By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST Ministries and the ASSIST News Service, who was born in Nigeria
NORTH-EAST NIGERIA (ANS — July 5, 2015) — A suicide bomber has attacked a church in Nigeria, capping a week in which more than 200 people died in Boko Haram violence.
According to the BBC, at least five worshippers were killed in Sunday’s attack as they were entering the church in Potiskum in the north-east of the country.
Sunday’s attack was carried out at the Redeemed Christian Church of God on the outskirts of Potiskum in Yobe state.
Witnesses and the police told AFP news agency that the pastor, a women and her two children were among those killed.
The vicious Islamist extremists of Boko Haram have carried out a six-year campaign of violence in Nigeria’s northeast.
The BBC says that recent attacks have brought condemnation from Nigeria’s president. Muhammadu Buhari, speaking on Friday, described as a “heinous atrocity” the latest wave of violence.
These attacks include:
* Friday: several suicide bombers kill large numbers in Zabarmari village
* Thursday: two female suicide bombers attack another village in Borno state
* Wednesday: more than 50 gunmen kill 97 people in the village of Kukawa, near Lake Chad
* Tuesday: 48 men shot dead after prayers in two villages near the town of Monguno
Boko Haram took control of a large area of north-eastern Nigeria last year and declared a caliphate (a state governed in accordance with Islamic law).
However, Nigeria’s military, backed by troops from neighboring countries, has recaptured most of the territory.
“In an effort to counter the growing violence, Nigeria is leading a military effort with neighboring countries. Mr. Buhari called for the regional military force to be deployed more rapidly,” said the BBC story.
According to Amnesty International, at least 17,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since 2009, when Boko Haram launched its violent uprising to try to impose militant Islamist rule.
The group is still holding many women, girls and children captive, including 219 schoolgirls it kidnapped from a school in Chibok in April last year.
About Boko Haram:
* Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
* Launched military operations in 2009
* Joined Islamic State
* Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, abducted hundreds, including at least 200 schoolgirls
* Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
* Regional force has retaken most territory
The big question is when will the killing stop by this violent group? And, can they be stopped?
Photo captions: 1) Boko Haram terrorist about to launch another deadly attack. 2) President Buhari has called for a regional force to be deployed more rapidly. 3) A still taken from a video by Nigeria’s Boko Haram terrorist network shows the missing girls dressed up in Islamic garb for the camera. (The country’s education commissioner claims four of the 223 have managed to break free.) 4) Dan Wooding pictured as a baby with his father, missionary Alf Wooding, shortly after he was born.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 74, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for nearly 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He has travelled widely in Africa for ANS.
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