Thursday, September 18, 2014

NIGERIA: TERROR ATTACKS IN THREE STATES

a Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) press release

Fifteen people were killed and 34 injured were yesterday when suspected members of the Islamist terror group Boko Haram launched a gun and bomb attack on the Federal College of Education (FCE) in the capital of Kano State in northern Nigeria.

According to reports armed men fired shots as they approached a hall at the FCE's new site at Gadon Kaya on Zaria Road at around 2pm as a lecture was underway. One detonated a suicide device while the other launched improvised explosive devices (IED), before opening fire on students who were attempting to escape. Police at a nearby checkpoint are reported to have responded promptly to the incident, shooting two assailants dead. Two AK-47s were recovered from the scene.

In a statement delivered by a spokesperson, President Goodluck Jonathan commiserated with the people and residents of Kano and commended the Nigeria Police for their prompt action.

Later that evening, the Nigerian Army's 7th Division scored a significant victory when it repelled a major attack by Boko Haram on Konduga Town in Borno State, reportedly killing 100s of sect members. On 12 September, the army had fought off an earlier attempt by a large Boko Haram contingent to seize Konduga Town for use as a forward base from which to launch a major attack on the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, causing the sect to suffer heavy losses in equipment and manpower, including the loss of an infamous emir.

Nevertheless, according to a recent statement by the Catholic Church of Nigeria, Boko Haram is currently in control of 25 north eastern towns, and an intensification in terrorist activities within the last month has caused massive displacement, creating 'a huge humanitarian crisis'. Moreover, the sect continues to abduct women and forcibly conscript young men. On 13 September, over 50 women, including married ones, were abducted from Gulak Town. Sect members also conducted indoctrination sessions, forcibly conscripting every able bodied youth when their audiences failed to volunteer to join them.

Elsewhere, armed Fulani gunmen launched renewed attacks on three communities in Sanga Local Government Area (LGA), in the southern part of Kaduna State during the early hours of 17 September. Around 40 people are reported to have been killed and dozens more injured in the attacks on Fadan Karshi, Fadan Karshi Daji and Unguwan Ganye villages. Among the victims were retired clergyman Reverend Jacob Aku and his wife. According to local reports, prior to attacking the villages the gunmen had ambushed a military patrol van, killing one soldier and injuring four others. The attacks were the first in the area since June, when at least 123 villagers were murdered by Fulani gunmen

CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, 'Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones in the attacks in Kano and Kaduna States, and with the women abducted from Gulak Town, who we pray will soon be rescued or released. We warmly welcome news of military successes, but are deeply concerned by reports of mass displacement, and by the number of towns said to be under Boko Haram's control. Clearly, as Nigeria continues its efforts to end the group's campaign of terror, the nation will need international assistance in order to provide for its burgeoning number of internally displaced people adequately. In addition, the fact gunmen were able to overrun current security arrangements in the southern part Kaduna State and take more innocent lives serves as an indication that the military presence in that area must be reviewed and increased. '

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0) 78 2332 9663, email kiri@csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.

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