ABUJA, NIGERIA (Worthy News)– Christians prepared for a difficult weekend in Nigeria amid reports of a second bomb attack on a church close to the capital Abuja following deadly violence by suspected Muslim militants that already killed several Christians.
Rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Church in the Madalla suburb of Suleja was the latest target to come under attack, while members of the congregation were taking part in a weekly prayer service on Monday, July 11.
CSW cited an eyewitness as saying that a bomb was thrown into the ECWA premises, but added that the explosive device fell short of the church building "damaging the outer walls and causing no injury." It just came shortly after the first reported bomb attack on a church in Suleja occurred on Sunday July 10, when at least three people were reportedly killed and three injured in an explosion at the All
Christian-Fellowship Mission during a church committee meeting. On the same day, dozens were injured in Kaduna State when a bomb exploded in a dustbin at a popular night spot on Maiduguri Road, witnesses and officials said.
The bombings are being attributed to the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which aims to spread Shariah, of Muslim law, across the African nation.
In June the group issued a statement via the Internet warning that it’s “commandos” had completed their “training in Somalia”, and would consequently be “stepping up attacks in the coming weeks in all northern states”, and especially in “such as Plateau, Kaduna, Taraba, Benue … [and] especially in Kaduna."
Meanwhile in Maiduguri, where Boko Haram have carried out over 20 deadly attacks since the beginning of the year, the state university has closed indefinitely, and hundreds of people are reported to be fleeing the city following a weekend of violence that left at least 30 people dead, some allegedly at the hands of the security services, CSW said.
CSW’s Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said that while his group is relieved at the narrow escape of church members in the ECWA church in Suleja on July 11, "the bombing of two churches in succession may be indicative of a worrying new trend by Boko Haram."
He said CSW has urged the state and federal authorities in Nigeria "to ensure that adequate protection is afforded to places of worship, and that security is deployed during church services. The security arrangements in Maiduguri and Kaduna States in particular must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”