Published: 16:45 GMT Standard Time - Tuesday 17 January 2012
Christians flee Northern Nigeria as deadly attacks continue
Country/Region: Africa, Nigeria
“They shot my father dead, and then came for the rest of the family.” Nigerian Christian Hyeladi Adurkwa
Hundreds of Christians are leaving their homes in Northern Nigeria as militant Islamist group Boko Haram continues to wage its deadly campaign against them.
Christians were given an ultimatum to leave Northern Nigeria
Four Christian men were reportedly shot dead in Potiskum town, Yobe State, last Wednesday (11 January) as they were travelling southwards to join their families, who had already migrated to escape the violence.
Entire lorry-loads of Christians are reported to be leaving Yobe following Boko Haram’s ultimatum for Christians to quit the North and subsequent attacks against them. One Christian said that he is helping over 200 Christian families with relocation.
On 10 January, eight men and a woman – all thought to have been Christians – were gunned down in Potiskum. In the same town on the previous day, two Christians escaped unharmed by falling to the ground and playing dead as gunmen on a motorbike shot at them.
Christians are also leaving Maiduguri, Boko Haram’s spiritual homeland in Borno State, following attacks against them there. On the day that the group’s three-day ultimatum for Christians to leave the North expired, 4 January, a Christian family was attacked in their home in Maiduguri.
Ousman Adurkwa (65) was shot dead along with his son Moussa. The gunmen fired at his other son Hyeladi, but the young man’s mother took the bullet. She survived the attack.
The family’s neighbour Joseph Adams (30) said:
We are going through a very difficult time because of Boko Haram. Two weeks ago a nearby church was also burned down, and nine other Christians have been killed. Now all the houses around me are emptying.
As the anti-Christian violence continues unabated, there are growing concerns about Boko Haram’s increasing sophistication and strength. In the Sunday Telegraph on 8 January, Colin Freeman described “the alarming evolution of the sect, which has progressed from using machetes and poisoned arrows in its infancy to sophisticated carbombs and Mumbai-style mass gun attacks today”. He continued:
- 1Deadly attacks force Christians to flee villages in Nigeria’s Middle Belt - 4 months ago
- 2Suicide bombers target Christian neighbourhood in Nigeria; at least 41 dead - 9 months ago
- 3Boko Haram denies ceasefire as anti-Christian violence in Nigeria rages on - 9 months ago
- 4Dozens of Christians shot and slaughtered in Christmas attacks in Nigeria - 11 months ago
- 5Suicide bombing at barracks church; anti-Christian riots in Nigeria - 1 year ago
- 6Church attack in Nigeria’s Kogi state kills 20; evangelist shot dead in Borno state - 1 year ago
- 7Fifty Christians burned alive by Islamist militants in Nigeria - 1 year ago
- 8Dozens dead in triple attack on Christians by Muslims in Nigeria - 1 year ago
- 9Systematic suicide bombings at Nigerian churches leave around 16 dead - 1 year ago
- 10Boko Haram declares Christians “enemies” and vows more church attacks - 2 years ago