NewsWest AfricaNigeria: Boko Haram condemned amid rising death toll


Posted on Monday, 26 December 2011 15:18

Nigeria: Boko Haram condemned amid rising death toll

By The Africa Report

World leaders have condemned the deadly Christmas day attacks on churches across Nigeria, claimed by Boko Haram, as death toll continues to rise.

Map of NigeriaAfrican Commission Chairman, Jean Ping has condemned the Boko Haram Islamist sects's continued "acts of terror and cruelty and absolute disregard for human life". He said in a statement released on Monday that the Islamist group's actions cannot be justified by any religion or faith.

The Christmas day bombings occured  near the Capital Abuja at St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Madala, about 40 km from the capital, Abuja, the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church in the middle-belt state of Jos, and at a church in Gadaka in the northern state of Yobe.

Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the three church bombings. This is the second Christmas in a row that the group has wrecked bloody havoc in Nigerian churches.

The Islamist sect aims to impose sharia law across Nigeria.

Meanwhile, death toll at St Theresa's Catholic church alone is believed to have reached 27. Father Christopher Barde, Assistant priest of the church told Reuters that "The officials who counted told me they have picked up 27 bodies so far."

Charles Ezeocha, special task force spokesman for the middle-belt state of Jos, where numerous Christian-Muslim conflicts have occured in recent years, said that the bomb blast was followed by a shooting rampage by the militants, who exchanged fire with local police.

"We lost one policeman and we have made four arrests. I think we can use them to get more information and work on that," said Ezeocha.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has also expressed his condolences. "The Secretary-General calls once again for an end to all acts of sectarian violence in the country and reiterates his firm conviction that no objective sought can justify this resort to violence," a statement released by his office read.

On Monday, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the attacks as an "absurd gesture". "Holy Christmas inspires us in a particularly strong way to pray to God so that the hands of the violent are stopped, (hands) that sow death in the world" said the Pontiff.

Last Updated on Monday, 26 December 2011 15:43

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