50 killed in Nigerian church attacks
Scores killed and five churches burnt down as militants raided Christian villages near Chibok, where nearly 300 school girls were kidnapped by an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria in April.
On June 29, assailants on motorbikes and in pick-up trucks stormed Kwada village around 8.30am, as people were gathering for regular Sunday church services, local sources said.
”The attackers fired at worshipers and those who tried to escape were chased and gunned down. They killed anything they have seen. Even animals were not left alive. Many people fled to the bush. They also set fire on houses and other properties before leaving the village” a resident in Chibok told World Watch Monitor. His identity is withheld for security reasons.
Pastor Emmanuel Bauchi, from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa, EYN, church is among the victims. The death toll is currently at 50 but it continues to increase as bodies are still being recovered from the bush.
In addition to Kwada, its three neighboring villages -Ngurojina, Kautikari and Karaggau – were also attacked. The five destroyed churches comprised a Baptist church, three Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa churches (EYN), and an Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA).
A survivor from the village of Kautikari, spoke with World Watch Monitor. He said most of the inhabitants sought refuge in the bush while the insurgents were opposed by vigilant groups. For security, he wishes to remain anonymous.
”When we heard guns shots from the first and second attack, we started running. Everybody, children and adults, ran for their lives to the bush. That’s why I am still alive.”
He explained the living conditions while in the bush, “They were very bad. There’s no drinking water. People sleep on the ground even when it rains, while others climb on the trees. We don’t know where to go because most of us are farmers and can’t afford to travel to other places. This morning [Monday] I managed to reach Chibok town with my wife and our one year old child. Unfortunately, I am still looking for my children aged 3 and 6,” he said.
All the targeted villages are predominantly Christian communities only a few miles from Chibok, where nearly 300 teen girls were abducted from their dormitory on April 14. The disappearance of the girls has generated headlines around the world and fueled a social-media storm around the hashtag #bringbackourgirls.
Nearly three months after this incident, the whereabouts of the school girls is still unknown, despite international mobilization notably by USA, France and England.
On Monday, President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the recent attacks.
A statement from his office said: “The President assures all Nigerians once again that the federal government and national security agencies will continue to intensify ongoing efforts to end Boko Haram’s senseless attacks until the terrorists are routed and totally defeated.”
Speaking to World Watch Monitor, a community leader in Chibok, said the government is not doing enough to ensure security.
”We are really in pain because a few days before, these people [insurgents] distributed letters stating their plan to attack. But nothing had been done until they came on Sunday and killed innocent lives. They can comeback at any time and kill anybody, without being worried. We are just left in the hands of God,” he said.
Despite a year-long state of emergency and the deployment of army to the region, the government continues to struggle to control the country, particularly in northeastern region of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States. On Monday, at least 18 people were killed, and more than 50 others injured in an explosion at a market in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.
Since January, deadly attacks have been carried out on almost a daily basis and have claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people compared to 3,600 who were killed between 2009 and 2013.