As was reported in RLPB 187 (28 Nov), up to 20 Christians were killed and dozens wounded on Sunday 25 November in a twin suicide bombing at St Andrew’s Protestant Church inside the Jaji military barracks in Kaduna. Investigations indicate that the bombers may have been residents of the barracks and might have built the bomb on site, which would explain why they were granted access to the church without being searched. This raises fears that other military establishments could be similarly targeted. That same week Boko Haram gunmen attacked the headquarters of the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Abuja, freeing 30 detainees and killing two policemen. Guards were under strict orders not to shoot. But Nigeria is at war! In Boko Haram’s own words (29 November), ‘Jihad [holy war] started now, jihad started now, O enemies of Allah.’
On Saturday night 1 December a band of jihadists attacked Kupwal, a remote village in Chibok Local Government Area (LGA). (That is about 160km south of the Boko Haram stronghold of Maiduguri in Borno, Nigeria’s most north-eastern state.) They invaded the Christian district and according to survivors entered ‘carefully selected’ homes, slitting the throats of the occupants. They then set fire to homes and sacked the whole neighbourhood to chants of ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is the greatest). [See Qur’an, Sura 7:4 ] At least 10 people were killed whilst dozens escaped with serious and life-threatening injuries. Observers believe Boko Haram was either responsible or at least complicit.
On Sunday morning 2 December, some 50 Islamic gunmen in cars and on motorbikes attacked a police station, immigration and customs offices and three churches in Gamboru Ngala, Ngala LGA. (That is 140km north of Maiduguri, Borno State, near the border with Cameroon.) Before launching their attack, the jihadists destroyed the mobile phone masts to prevent communication and so compound the crisis. With shouts of ‘Allahu Akbar’ they opened fire on police, killing five. The churches were torched and Christians living and doing business in the border town were targeted. About two weeks earlier, leaflets had been distributed in which the Islamists declared their intention to impose Taliban-style rule, e.g., women were told to wear the veil and cigarettes were banned. A tailor was subsequently shot for continuing to make clothing the Islamists deemed un-Islamic.
In a 30 November column, author and analyst Raymond Ibrahim explained why persecution such as that described above is ‘Islam’s Achilles’ heel’. Persecution committed by dominant Muslims in Muslim communities — i.e. Muslims who cannot claim to be ‘oppressed’ or ‘aggrieved’ — against vulnerable minority Christians is simply impossible to justify. Such persecution exposes Islam as supremacist, totalitarian, intolerant and imperialistic; as a movement that will not rest until the ‘other’ is totally subjugated. ‘And to Allah prostrates whoever is within the heavens and the earth, willingly or by compulsion, and their shadows [as well] in the mornings and the afternoons.’ (Qur’an, Sura 13:15)
But Obama and Hillary refuse to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group, via Resistance to calling Boko Haram terrorists | Barnabas – Christian persecution.
As an international groundswell builds against the deadly activities of Islamist militants Boko Haram in Nigeria, why do the Nigerian government and the US State Department remain resistant to labelling the group a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO)?
Calls for the State Department to designate Boko Haram an FTO are intensifying as brutal attacks against Christians in the North show no signs of relenting. In the latest act of savagery, a group of suspected Boko Haram attackers went from house to house in the predominantly Christian part of the village of Chibok, Borno state, late on Saturday night (1 December). They set people’s houses on fire before slitting the throats of their victims, holding them upside down as when animals are slaughered; ten Christians were killed.
Later that night, gunmen killed five policemen as they attacked churches and government buildings in Gamboru Ngala, near the border with Cameroon.
A Barnabas Aid contact in the Gwoza area, which lies further south along the border, said that numerous Christians had recently moved there, having been forced by Boko Haram to leave surrounding towns. The militants have now declared that Christians must leave Borno state altogether.
Boko Haram is intent on driving Christians out of Northern Nigeria; the group has issued a number of threats to this effect and is waging a targeted campaign of deadly violence against Christian communities.
Yet calls earlier this year from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and more than 20 American scholars for Boko Haram to be labelled a terrorist outfit largely fell on deaf ears in the US State Department, which in June named only three of the group’s leaders as foreign terrorists.
Christians in Nigeria are now intensifying their efforts with backing from Nigerian Christians in the US, who have formed the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN) to raise awareness of what it calls the “pre-genocide” conditions in their ancestral homeland.
The campaign has support from powerful quarters in the US: the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Homeland Security Department as well as several legislators have recommended FTO designation.
Pat Meehan, a Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania, said that he would be tabling a draft bill in Congress; the bill will compel the State Department to explain its reasons if it refuses to give Boko Haram the FTO label.
FTO designation comes with the threat of sanctions and/or tracking, and makes it illegal for individuals or organisations in the US to give material support or resources to the group. The State Department also encourages other governments to block the supply of finance to them.
CANAN chairman Dr James Fadele said that Boko Haram is sustained by the procurement of weapons from outside Nigeria. The Christian group is arguing that FTO designation would send a serious signal to Boko Haram’s political and financial backers, who can currently support the Islamist group with impunity.
For its part, the State Department has denied that Boko Haram’s campaign is religiously motivated, instead using the term “sectarian violence”, which creates the false impression that Christians are equal participants. It has maintained the view that the Islamist group is driven by economic grievances, despite explicit statements from Boko Haram about its violent intentions towards Christians and calls for an Islamic state in the North.
The State Department’s position runs contrary to that of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is investigating Boko Haram for suspected crimes against humanity. A report by the ICC prosecutor released last month said that the group “has launched a widespread and systematic attack that has resulted in the killing of more than 1,200 Christian and Muslim civilians in different locations throughout Nigeria”.
The report stated that the attacks have been carried out with the aim of “imposing an exclusive Islamic system of government in Northern Nigeria at the expense of Christians specifically” and that Boko Haram has issued public statements in line with this agenda, including an ultimatum issued in January 2012 for Christians to leave the North.
How many more Christians need to be savagely murdered, attacked at church or driven from their homes before the Nigerian government and the US State Department are willing to label Boko Haram as the terrorist organisation that it is?
More Arab/Islamic jihad against black Africans via Potential Mass Genocide Threatens Sudanese Christians.
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