Islamic Extremists Kill Pastor, Raze Churches in Nigeria
30 Jul 2009
Washington, D.C: July 29, 2009. International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Islamic extremists killed a pastor and razed five churches in the city of Maiduguri, Nigeria, on July 27. The extremists also attacked two churches in the Nigerian
Yakubu Sabo, a husband and father of seven, was hacked to death with a machete by members of a violent Islamic militant group know as Boko Haram (which means "education is prohibited"). Sabo pastored a Church of Christ congregation in Maiduguri.
Deeper Life Church, Evangelical Mission, and Church of the Brethren are three of five other churches set ablaze by Islamists in Maiduguri. In the city of Potiskum, Islamists attacked First Baptist Church and Church of the Brethren. They also burned the musical instruments and sound systems of the churches before police came and chased them away.
Violence erupted on July 26 when police arrested leaders of Boko Haram. In retaliation, members of the group attacked a police station in the city of Bauchi, the capital city of Bauchi State. In ensuing battles between police and the militants, more than 150 people, including the militants, police and civilians, have been killed. Attacks by the Islamists have spread to the northern Nigerian states of Borno, Kano and Yobe. ICC's source indicated that the police arrested 400 members of the group in Sokoto state on July 28.
Boko Haram opposes Western education and is waging jihad to impose Sharia law throughout Nigeria, including areas where Christians are the majority.
"The violence started as anti-government but the extremists have started to attack churches and Christians. Muslims in Nigeria had argued that introduction of Sharia law doesn't affect Christians, but this violence shows how Christians are affected by groups that are bent on imposing Sharia laws all over Nigeria," said Reverend John Joseph Hayab in an interview with ICC. Reverend Hayab is a church leader in Nigeria.
Jonathan Racho, ICC's Regional Manager for Africa and the Middle East, said, "Nigerian officials must act quickly to stop the spread of the attacks by Boko Haram in the other parts of northern Nigeria. We call upon the Nigerian government to bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice and take preventive measures to avert similar violence."