A terrorist attack on an evangelical Christian church in central Nigeria, in which at least 20 people including the pastor were killed, has been followed a day later by a similar attack on a mosque.
The assault on the main mosque of Okene showed the true nature of the terrorist attacks by the Islamist insurgency known as Boko Haram, according to Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja.
“Boko Haram is a threat to everyone, not just for Christians,” said Archbishop Onaiyekan. “It is not the first time that a mosque is attacked, but previous attacks against mosques have not had the same prominence of attacks against Christian churches, perhaps because when Islamic groups attack a mosque it is not news.
“We must bear in mind that we are dealing with a group of criminals that all Nigerians, Christians and Muslims, must face together.
“Okene is in particular a Muslim community, where a strong Christian minority lives, and is one of the examples where Christians and Muslims live together. So it is not possible to divide the community between Christians and Muslims.”
The terrorist attack on the Deeper Life Evangelican Church on the outskirts of Okene was carried out by three men.
Two sprayed gunfire from Kalashnikov assault rifles into those taking part in a Bible study programme, while the third man switched off the generator so there were no lights for those trying to escape.
Though no group claimed responsibility, Boko Haram has attacked both churches and mosques in the past and has been blamed for nearly 700 killings this year alone.
The group’s name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north. Its demands have included the strict implementation of Islamic Shariah law across the country.
In the terrorist attack on the mosque, gunmen killed four people, including two military guards, during a Muslim programme.
Image: The Blaze