Nigeria: Rev. killed and four Churches bombed
A retired minister was killed after refusing to convert to Islam as suspected Boko Haram militants attacked four churches in the hill country of Borno state in Northern Nigeria.
Nigeria, June 24, 2013: The armed assailants tried to force the Rev. Jacob Kwiza to renounce Christ, but when he defied their threats, they slit his throat.
The militants were going round attacking communities and torching churches in the Gwoza Hills, where Mr Kwiza was picking mangoes at his father’s orchard in Hwa’a.
A resident of Kunde said that the attackers climbed the hills on foot carrying explosives and, after chanting “Allahu Akhbar” (“Allah is great”), bombed four church buildings, in Hwa’a, Kunde, Gathahure and Gjigga, on 13 June.
They pillaged the residents’ supply of grain as well as livestock from two communities.
The area has previously come under attack. In April, gunmen torched two churches, in Hrazah and Hembe, and killed two residents. That incident had caused people to flee, and the latest attack has driven more from the hills.
In other attacks, the district heads of Kurana Bassa and Damboa, and a secondary school head teacher, have been shot dead.
It is thought that Boko Haram militants have resurfaced in Gwoza and other nearby towns after their training camps in the Sambisa Games Reserve Forest were destroyed as part of a clampdown by the Nigerian military.
A state of emergency was declared last month in the Northern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, where the militants pose the greatest threat. Nigerian forces are carrying out their biggest offensive against Boko Haram since the Islamist group’s deadly insurgency began in 2009.
But the militants, who are fighting to establish an Islamic state in the North, have so far been undeterred.They are now targeting youth in Borno and Yobe states who have been helping the military to identify and arrest suspected Boko Haram members.
Last week they killed at least nine pupils at a school on the outskirts of Maiduguri, and 13 people, including students and teachers, at a school in Damaturu.
- barnabas team