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Boko Haram attacks escalate in Nigeria

YOBE, Nigeria (BP) — Islamic militants have killed about 200 adults and children in three attacks in Christian villages in northeastern Nigeria within the past 10 days, killing as many as 40 students at a boarding school Monday (Feb. 24) in Yobe, CBS News reported.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s appointment of new military leaders in December, 2013 and his declaration of a state of emergency in the region last May, have not stopped the violence.

In Monday night’s attack at the secondary school, Boko Haram killed the students, all male, and burned the school to the ground, Police Commissioner Sanusi Rufai told CBS news.

“Some of the students bodies were burned to ashes,” CBS quoted Rufai. No girls were harmed, Rufai said.

The attack followed two raids on the mostly Christian village of Izghe in Borno State, when Boko Haram killed as many as 106 people on Feb. 15, burned and destroyed homes and businesses, and returned days later to kill any who remained in the town, Morning Star News reported. Thousands of residents displaced from Izghe and nearby villages have fled to Cameroon, creating a crisis of humanitarian aid, according to news reports.

More than 500 have been killed in Borno in the last two months, according to BBC News.

The Feb. 15 massacre lasted about five hours without intervention from the military, according to Morning Star News. The Nigerian military’s failure to protect citizens is fueling anger in the northeast, where Boko Haram has done the most damage since it set out in 2009 to establish Islamic rule. President Jonathan has repeatedly defended his military in news reports.

Nigerian military had withdrawn from the area after an ambush in mid-February killed nine soldiers, Borno State senator Ali Ndume told BBC news. Izghe is close to the Sambisa Forest, where Boko Haram has established an operational camp.

On Jan. 31, Boko Haram attacked a church in neighboring Adamawa State and killed 11 people, including 50-year-old Hannaniya Sini Kwajipwa, pastor of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, and 10 congregants, Morning Star News reported.

The Adamawa attack occurred a week after Boko Haram assaulted St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Waga Chakawa village, killing as many as 43 Christians.

In northern Nigeria’s Kaduna State, a band of armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Jan. 30 attacked the Christian village of Ungwar Kajit in the Manyi Akuru area, near Manchok, killing a family of seven and a man nearby, and injuring dozens of others.

The Rev. Yakubu Gandu Nkut, chairman of the area Christian Association of Nigeria, said Boko Haram killed 47-year-old Nathanial Abins, his wife Ruth Abins, and their five children and a man near their home, Morning Star News reported.

Just a week earlier, Boko Haram killed more than 50 in Kawuri Village in Borno.
Compiled by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/ editor. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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