“It is always very difficult to report about a Boko Haram attack,” writes one of the staff of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), reporting yet more violence in northeastern Nigeria. The EYN staff member wrote in an e-mail to the Global Mission and Service office this week that the attack on Sunday in his village at Wagga Chakawa “came as a surprise to many people.”
Boko Haram is an extremist Islamist sect that has been attacking villages in remote areas, government facilities such as police stations and army posts, banks, mosques and moderate Muslims, and churches and Christians.
The EYN staff reported: “Boko Haram…are divided into different groups and their strategy of operation differs. The operation in Wagga Chakawa started with a road block. Wagga Chakawa is a place where different tribes from Borno and Adamawa settled for farming, and it is close to a forest where most people go for fire wood. On Jan. 26 the sects mounted a big road block particularly screening the passengers that were going for fire wood.
“A report from a Muslim eye witness said he was freed at the first and second road blocks because they only asked him his religion. He said he postponed his business of the day because he witnessed many Christians being slaughtered in his presence. It was after the road check that they went to the Catholic church for killing and burning. About four houses were burnt, the church was also burnt, and about 22 people died as a result of the attack.”
The EYN staff member closed his message with the prayer, “God have mercy.”
Find a “Christian Post” article about the attack at http://crossmap.christianpost.com/news/boko-haram-suspected-in-bomb-attack-on-catholic-church-service-in-nigeria-at-least-22-worshippers-killed-8722 .
Refugee numbers are growing
In related news, the numbers of refugees fleeing northern Nigeria because of the terrorist violence is growing. Reports posted at AllAfrica.com including a lengthy article from the UN Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN), say that up to 37,000 people have fled the violence in northeastern Nigeria since early 2012, but the government has not updated that number since September last year. Many refugees are going to neighboring countries including Niger and Cameroon.
“The aid response thus far has been patchy,” said the IRIN report. “Government efforts to register the displaced have been slow, and the refugees among them have yet to be given refugee status…. A recently completed joint food security assessment by the World Food Program and UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) revealed that nutrition centers in the main sites sheltering displaced populations have higher rates of severe acute and moderate malnutrition than in May 2012, when the displaced started to arrive…. The situation is very volatile, with people crossing the border weekly, and new waves still arriving.”