Nigeria: Boko Haram Attacks Increase in the North
Heavily armed militants, suspected members of Boko Haram, attacked Damaturu, the capital of Nigeria's Yobe state, last Thursday, Open Doors USA reports. It appears that hundreds of members of the Muslim terrorist sect took part in the surprise offensive in an area that hosts government institutions but is also dominated by Christians. According to the BBC, the militants also attacked a hospital, stole drugs and drove off in ambulances. The death toll of the gun battle between the militants and the army, which lasted several hours, has not been confirmed. A Damaturu resident told Nigerian media: "It was a coordinated onslaught by the insurgents. They divided themselves into so many groups. No one can tell you how many people have been killed, but the truth is the casualty numbers must be high." An Open Doors worker in Nigeria reported: "Efforts to reach Christians in the town by telephone proved futile as all lines have been cut. That is common practice during attacks such as these. We have been able to contact Christians who live in areas away from the capital. They expressed great worry over the safety of their friends and family in Damaturu. This city has suffered many attacks in the past and is now under a dusk-till-dawn curfew. We are concerned over the effect of the continued violence on believers in Yobe state. They are living in constant fear. Every single day there are believers who lose loved ones and see destruction of their property." Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states in May, but his government has since come under increased criticism for its failure to bring an end to the continuing violence. Nigeria is ranked No. 13 on the World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians.