Nigeria: Country on Edge after Threats of Increased Violence before Saturday’s Election
From World Watch Monitor
Anticipation of further violence as Nigeria begins voting for its next president is growing after the release of a new video shows Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau threatening that the election “will not happen in peace.”
The chilling message will alarm Christians from Nigeria’s northern states who live in persistent fear of attack from the Islamic terrorist group.
In the lead up to the elections, a Nigerian pastor visited the UK parliament to highlight the problems Christians face in the troubled region. Afterwards, in an exclusive interview, Pastor Daniel Awayi told World Watch Monitor about atrocities carried out on his congregation by Boko Haram. To listen to the interview, go to https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2015/03/article_3784577.html/
Ahead of Nigeria’s delayed Presidential election on Friday, the world’s media remain focused on the continued attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in the country’s northeastern states and their cross-border raids into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Nigeria’s government has failed to stop the group taking control of large swathes of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states. The standard refrain that the insurgency will “soon be over” was repeated on March 20 when President Goodluck Jonathan assured the BBC that the Islamists would soon have no more control of any territory.
Other countries in Africa are beginning to take the initiative in confronting Boko Haram. Both Niger and Chad recently sent soldiers across the border to make retaliatory strikes. Damasak, a town close to Niger’s border, has been recaptured by the coalition but on Tuesday it was revealed that about 500 children under 11 are missing. Witnesses suspect they were taken by Boko Haram as they retreated.
But it is feared by security experts that gains by the coalition might force Boko Haram to retaliate against soft targets like Internally Displaced People and revert to guerrilla tactics of bombings and suicide attacks.
Chad and Niger, together with other African states, are appealing to the United Nations to finance a military force and to share intelligence and equipment. A draft U.N. Security Council resolution suggests a force created by Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin. It is hoped the council will vote on the resolution by the end of March.
Nigeria is ranked No. 10 on Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575.