Gunmen kill six at Nigerian church

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Gunmen have opened fire on worshippers as their eyes were closed in prayer at a Nigerian church, killing six in the latest of a series of attacks on churches in Africa’s most populous nation. The attack on the outskirts of the northeastern city of Gombe comes after an ultimatum issued Sunday by a purported spokesman for Islamist group Boko Haram for Christians to leave the country’s mainly Muslim north within three days. There was however no claim of responsibility for the attack on Thursday night at the Deeper Life Christian Ministry Church. Police said an investigation was ongoing and declined to say whether Boko Haram was suspected.
Church pastor John Jauro said confusion broke out when the gunmen opened fire and that his wife was among the dead. The number of attackers was not clear. “It was around 7:30 pm,” Jauro said. “I was leading the congregation in prayers. Our eyes were closed when some gunmen stormed the church and opened fire on the congregation. “Six people were killed in the attack and 10 others were wounded.” Gombe police spokesman Ahmed Mohammed confirmed the attack and death toll, but said the gunmen had fled by the time authorities arrived at the church.
A hospital source said four of the victims were dead on arrival while the other two died later. The injured sustained serious gunshot wounds, the source said. The attack comes amid intensifying concerns over the potential for renewed sectarian clashes in Nigeria, whose 160 million population is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south. While Boko Haram has been blamed for increasingly deadly attacks for months, including an August suicide bombing of UN headquarters in Abuja that killed 25, the violence has taken on a different dimension with recent church attacks. A wave of Christmas bombings that killed 49 people, most of them outside of a Catholic church as services were ending, led to intense fear and outrage in Africa’s largest oil producer. There have been fears of reprisals from Christians, and Christian leaders have warned they will defend themselves if attacks against them continue. President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency on December 31 in parts of four states hard hit by violence blamed on Boko Haram, but there has been no halt to the attacks. Gombe is outside the areas included in the state of emergency.

1 COMMENT

  1. Since our president cant handle dis,I suggest christian should start defending them selves,through any means

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