NIGERIA: Boko Haram Attacks : Dec 2011 – July 2012
Between the periods of December 2011 to July 2012, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has
noted a number of attacks by Islamist group Boko Haram, in over seven states in northern and
central Nigeria, including the Capital Abuja. In the spate of attacks, hundreds have been injured and
killed, and dozens of homes and churches have been attacked. These attacks have not gone
unanswered, with both state and national governments putting extra policing, and imposing curfews
in an attempt to restore order to the streets. While this record is a comprehensive note of
information that CSW and Christian Solidarity Worldwide Nigeria (CSW N) have been able to
witness or receive, there have certainly been more attacks in more areas that CSW has not
documented. What this record does illustrate is, that Boko Haram are organised, and have access to
resources enabling the purchasing of sophisticated weaponry and bomb making materials.
Additionally, the group is intent on using violence against ordinary citizens of Nigeria, and more
specifically, with the obvious targeting of churches and Christians, the religious motivation behind
1. December 2011
Eight dead after blast in Kaduna
A powerful bomb blast rocked Kaduna metropolis on December 7, leaving at least eight dead, many
badly injured and causing millions of naira worth of destruction to properties and businesses.
Eyewitnesses told Christian Solidarity Worldwide Nigeria (CSWN) that the bombers were on
motorcycles, and were heading towards a spare part shop in a busy trading area, before residents
heard the sound of an explosion, which killed one motorcyclist.
According to news reports, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Red Cross,
Federal Road Safety Corps, police and army worked for hours to evacuate the injured and the
decapitated bodies of victims.
The Kaduna State Commissioner of Police is reported to have attributed the explosion to gas
cylinders and batteries in the shops.
However, Mr. Sunday Mba, the Chairman of the Spare Part Seller’s Union, said that shops in the area
do not sell gas and that a battery explosion would not cause such extensive damage. According to
the Associated Press, the Red Cross confirmed the explosion in Kaduna was a bomb, corroborating
eyewitness reports made to CSWN. Kaduna was one of the sites of deadly post-election violence in
April. More recently, several people were killed when two villages in southern Kaduna were attacked
by armed Fulanis.
Series of blasts rock Jos
The Plateau State capital Jos was targeted by a series of bombings on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11,
Sources informed Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) that the bombings followed threats to
disrupt Christmas celebrations in the area that have been circulating for around two weeks.
On Saturday night three bombs exploded at television viewing centres on the Bauchi Ring Road,
claiming the life of one man and injuring eleven people, as crowds were watching a football match
between Real Madrid and Barcelona. A fourth device failed to explode and was later defused by the
bomb squad. So far no group has claimed responsibility.
Elsewhere, a woman was killed and two others wounded in Kaduna State when gunmen attacked
Kukum Dutse village in Kagoro, Kaura Local Government Area (LGA) during the early hours of 11
December. The two surviving victims suffered gunshot wounds, and were transferred to Bingham
University Teaching Hospital in Jos.
Commenting on the weekend’s events, the Chief Executive Officer of CSW Nigeria, the Reverend
Yunusa Nmadu, said, "I believe that northern elders could contribute more towards ending these
frequent attacks on innocent citizens. It is rather worrying that the recently concluded northern
Nigeria peace summit produced no statement regarding the Boko Haram militia, which has unleashed
violence in several states of northern Nigeria."
Two Bomb factories destroyed; but Christmas celebrations threatened
On Monday 19, two bomb making factories belonging to the Boko Haram Islamist militia were
destroyed by explosions that killed or injured several bomb-makers in Kaduna State and Yobe State.
In the early afternoon of 19 December, an improvised bomb detonated prematurely in a house in the
Mando area of Kaduna metropolis, destroying seven surrounding houses and killing one of the bomb
makers. Three other suspected bombers were seriously injured, and were apprehended by locals
while attempting to flee the scene. Police found a weapons cache in the ruins of the house. On the
same day, one suspected member of Boko Haram died in hospital from injuries sustained when a
bomb he was constructing exploded at around midday in the Pompomari area of Damaturu in Yobe
State. Two of his fellow bomb-makers are being sought by Yobe State police, who also recovered
various weapons and bomb-making materials from the scene.
The explosions followed two similar incidents in the Borno State capital earlier in December. On 13
December, four people were reported to have died when a bomb exploded in the London Ciki
Ward of Maiduguri. At least one of them was a suspected Boko Haram member. Four days later,
the premature explosion of an improvised device in the Bolori area claimed the lives of the three
Boko Haram members who had been constructing it. The house they were in was allegedly
discovered to be a major Boko Haram factory for the production of Improvised Explosive Devices
(IEDs), and AK-47 rifles, explosive substances, wires, wired clocks, remote controls and sensors
were reportedly found at the scene.
In a comment on recent events, the Chief Executive Officer of CSW Nigeria, the Reverend Yunusa
Nmadu, said, “The bomb blasts and subsequent discoveries of dangerous weapons especially in
Kaduna reveal the extent to which our society have become increasingly insecure and prone to
violence. We call on the federal and state government to conduct house to house searches that are
sensitive enough to respect the rights of the innocent, but rigorous enough to uncover potential
perpetrators of atrocities.”
During the previous weekend, police in the Kano State capital apprehended 14 suspected members
of Boko Haram after a fire fight in which three policemen and four members of the sect were killed.
According to the Kano State police force, large amounts of ammunition were recovered from the
homes of two of the Boko Haram suspects, including AK-47 rifles, pump-action shotguns, detonators,
home-made bomb casings gunpowder and ammonium nitrate. Boko Haram threatened massive
On 16 December pamphlets appeared in Jos signed by an unidentified group threatened to bomb
various locations in Plateau State on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, including churches and other
40 Killed in Christmas Day attacks
Over 40 people died in a series of Christmas Day bomb and gun attacks that targeted churches and
members of the security services in five states in northern and central Nigeria. The Islamist militia
Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which occurred in Niger, Plateau, Yobe,
Adamawa and Borno States.
The majority of fatalities occurred at St Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger State, where
bombers in a vehicle hurled explosives at the congregation at the end of mass. Sources told Christian
Solidarity Worldwide-Nigeria (CSW-N) that the priest had asked parishioners to stay a little longer
for Christmas souvenirs. Those who did not remain for the ceremony were caught up in the blast.
At least 35 people died in the Madalla bombing, with scores more suffering various degrees of injury,
some potentially fatal. CSW-N was informed that in several cases the blast claimed entire families,
some of whom were burnt beyond recognition in their cars. In the case of one family, the sole
survivor was a thirteen year-old girl called Chidinma, who had not attended church that day.
The next explosions targeted a Mountain of Fire Ministries church in Murtala Mohammad Way in the
Plateau state capital, Jos. The bombers were on foot because the state government had temporarily
banned the use of unregistered motorcycles for this very reason. The first device destroyed a large
building outside the church. However, a police patrol was passing by just as the bombers threw the
second, which hit a wall and destroyed a few cars. Four culprits, reportedly Muslims from the
Gangare area, were apprehended following a fire fight in which a policeman was injured and later
died. There were no other casualties, and two more locally made explosives were allegedly
recovered nearby and disarmed.
Multiple explosions were reported next from Damaturu, capital of Yobe State, where fighting
between security forces and Boko Haram had claimed over 60 lives earlier in the week. Most
significantly, a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb outside the offices of the State Security Service
(SSS), killing three SSS men. In a subsequent attack on a church in Gadaka, a town approximately 155
km west of Damaturu, gunmen set ablaze five cars as worshippers fled, but no lives were reported
A bomb exploded at a hotel in Mubi in Adamawa State injuring one person, but other bombs planted
around three churches were reportedly disarmed. In the Wasin Umurari area of Maiduguri, capital of
Borno State, six people died in an attack launched by suspected Boko Haram gunmen.
Following the attacks, many Christians lamented the fact that their security is no longer guaranteed in
northern and central Nigeria. Some are even beginning to avoid church gatherings for fear of being
2. January 2012
Indigenous Northern Christians forced to relocate to flee violence
Nigerian Christians from tribes indigenous to Yobe State are increasingly being forced to consider
relocating from their ancestral home as a result of the activities of the Boko Haram Islamist militia
On the evening of Wednesday 4 January Boko Haram launched attacks in three northern states,
hours after the expiry of its deadline for Christians to leave the north, and almost a week after
President Jonathan had instituted a state of emergency in the most violence-prone areas of four
states and temporarily closed the nation’s borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
In the Yobe State capital Damaturu, gunmen attacked a Christian compound in Gashu’a Road, killing
two people and wounding several others. The militia also murdered the head of Pompomari Ward
and bombed a beer parlour in an area known locally as Kandahar. In Borno State, suspected Boko
Haram gunmen shot and killed the head of Shehuri Ward in Maiduguri. However, two bombs that
exploded close to the Customs office claimed no casualties. In Jigawa State, a teenage girl died in
crossfire when dozens of suspected Boko Haram gunmen attacked a police station in Birniwa Local
Council, wounding a policeman and allegedly planting a bomb that was later disarmed.
Violence continued in the evening of January 5, as gunmen attacked a meeting at a Deeper Life
church in the Gombe State capital, killing six people, including the pastor’s wife, and injuring several
Christians in Damaturu informed Christian Solidarity Worldwide-Nigeria (CSW-N) of reports
indicating that Boko Haram would be changing tactics in order to circumvent the state of emergency.
Sources told CSW-N, “We have learned that they have taken note of areas where people gather,
have marked Christian houses and churches, and will be attacking house by house at night.”
While some Christians from southern tribes returned to their original areas, the majority of
Christians in Yobe, as in other northern and central states, are from indigenous tribes and have no
other home. CSW was told, “We have our farmlands, houses and everything here. Our great, great,
great grandparents were born here. It is our forefather’s land, yet we are being left with the choice
of relocating to a safer area until things improve, or staying here to die”.
Commenting on an ultimatum issued the previous week by Niger Delta militants threatening
retaliation against northern Muslims in the south if Boko Haram continued killing southerners in the
north, one local source in Yobe said, “Now there is going to be reprisal in the east, which will trigger
more violence and bloodshed. If that happens, if not for God’s intervention, this country could be
divided and indigenous Christians like us in Yobe will be in a terribly dangerous position.”
Christians killed as they fled violence
On January 11, Boko Haram gunmen shot dead four Igbo Christian men in Potiskum town in Yobe
State and threatened to launch an attack on two nearby villages later that evening.
The four men were reportedly shot in a vehicle as they were migrating southwards to rejoin their
families, who had already moved to that area to escape the violence. Previous attempts to join them
had been hampered by the indefinite general strike against fuel subsidy removal, which has brought
the nation to a halt.
On the same day, Boko Haram also threatened to attack Kukargadu and Dagare villages, both of
which have large populations of indigenous Christians. However, extra security personnel were
deployed to the villages, which were consequently kept safe through the night.
On Tuesday 10, eight men and a woman were killed by suspected Boko Haram gunmen in Potiskum.
All nine were Christians. The group, which included a lecturer at the Federal College of
Education/Technical in Potiskum, four policemen and a young man employed by Jam’a Clinic, were in
a bar in the Dorawa Ward when they were shot at by gunmen who escaped on motorcycles. On the
previous day, two Christians were also shot at by gunmen on a motorcycle in the Barracks area of
Potiskum, but escaped unhurt by falling to the ground and playing dead.
A 24-hour curfew was imposed in Yobe, and motorcycles were banned due to Boko Haram’s regular
usage of these vehicles.
The deteriorating security situation has led to rising speculation that Yobe State could soon be
entirely emptied of its Christian population as entire lorry-loads of people have been departing the
state. One source, who informed CSW-Nigeria he was assisting over two hundred families of
indigenous Christians with relocation, said, "If this continues unabated, in the next few months or
weeks there may be no Christians in Yobe State. Though our houses, jobs and churches are here, we
have no choice but to leave".
In several instances, fuel subsidy removal protests are being used for alternative agendas. On
Tuesday 10, a fuel protest in Gusau, Zamfara State, degenerated into an attack on Ebenezer Baptist
Church as rioters removed equipment and other valuables from the premises and set them on fire. A
24-hour curfew was imposed in Kaduna City and its environs on Wednesday 11, after Muslim youths
went to the governor’s official residence on Tuesday 10, claiming they wanted to seize control.
On Wednesday 11, a 6am to 6pm curfew was imposed in Niger State after rioting broke out in the
capital, Minna, and the governor’s campaign headquarters was attacked.
Meanwhile, retaliatory attacks on Hausa-Fulani neighbourhoods in Benin City in southern Nigeria on
9 and 10 January during fuel protests resulted in five deaths, mass displacement and the destruction
of an Islamic School attached to the central mosque. This worrying development follows a week of
violent events in Adamawa State that left at least 37 people dead in which southerners were
Blasts rock Bauchi and Kano states
A series of bomb blasts rocked Bauchi and Kano states in northern Nigeria on January 21 and 22,
with the death toll in Kano estimated to be over 185 people.
Boko Haram claimed responsibility for multiple bombings and a shooting spree targeting the
immigration services, police headquarters and State Security Service (SSS) building in Kano, claiming
at least 185 lives. The group promised to unleash multiple blasts there after one of their cells was
uncovered in December 2011, stating at the time that they had left Kano untouched, but would take
action if their people were not released. In an open letter to the people of Kano following the
weekend’s bombings, Boko Haram’s spokesman Abul Qaqa said that only the intervention of un-
named Muslim scholars was preventing the group from unleashing an “endless campaign of violence”
on the state.
The Anglican Bishop of Kano spoke to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) after identifying the
corpse of a member of his congregation who had been missing: “The target was the government, but
who is the government? It is the people.”
Both Muslims and Christians were caught up in the bombings and subsequent shootings; however,
there was unease in the Christian community that they might be directly targeted in future, as has
occurred in the past when reprisals for events occurring abroad have been visited upon the local
Christian community. As a result, many Christians from southern Nigeria were reported to be
flocking to bus depots, either to return home or to flee to Abuja. Other Christians are also vowing
to leave the city.
On Sunday 22 January in Bauchi Metropolis, Bauchi State, bombs were planted at the Evangelical
Church Winning All (ECWA) 2 in the Railway Area and Our Lady of St Lauretto Catholic Church,
Fadama Mada, which sustained minor damage to their walls. There were no injuries or fatalities as
the bombs exploded in the early hours of the morning.
On the same day in Tafawa Balewa Town, St Paul’s Anglican Secondary School was partially
destroyed by a bomb. An attempted attack on a police station was foiled and two of the would-be
bombers were arrested and later confessed to the church attacks. There was also an attempted
robbery of First Bank, and an attack on a hotel and military checkpoint in the Bununu District. The
violence claimed the lives of two army officers, a deputy superintendent of police and eight civilians,
including a child.
3. February 2012
Church in Jos attacked
A suicide bomber drove a car into the Jos headquarters of the Church of Christ in Nigeria
denomination (COCIN) during the morning worship service on Sunday 26 February, killing three
people and injuring 37. The Islamist group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the attack.
According to eyewitnesses, the suicide bomber was driving a Volkswagen Golf, and was accompanied
by a man in military uniform, who left the car at the gate of the church. The bomber forced the car
onto the premises, causing an industrial gas cylinder which was in the car boot and probably designed
to amplify the effect of the blast, to fall out before the explosive was detonated.
The bomber and two church members died in the explosion, while 37 others were injured, and many
vehicles were destroyed. The soldier who had accompanied the bomber was almost lynched by angry
crowds and later arrested.
As youths took to the streets in protest at the bombing, a Muslim-owned shop situated close to the
church that sold car accessories was burned down, and fighting in an area close to the Township
Stadium resulted in several injuries. Violence continued late into the evening, with at least one
person reported to have been killed. However, calm was restored following an increased security
There was speculation that security arrangements for the English service at the COCIN church were
not as thorough as for the Hausa service, and that the bomber may have taken advantage of this in
order to carry out his attack.
Prior to this attack, reports had emerged of the discovery of a list of potential Boko Haram targets in
Jos, that included the COCIN headquarters Church, the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA)
headquarters Church, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, St Luke’s Anglican Cathedral, St Pirans
Anglican Church, Living Faith Church and the home of the Anglican Archbishop.
President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the violence and appealed for calm. In a statement he said,
"The indiscriminate bombing of Christians and Muslims is a threat to all peace-loving Nigerians."
4. March 2012
Suicide bomb blast at Catholic Church in Jos
In Jos in Plateau State a second suicide bombing at a church within a two week period occurred, and
claimed eight lives.
The suicide bomber detonated the bomb, which was in his car, just outside the gate of St Finbarr’s
Catholic Church in the Rayfield area on Sunday 11 March, after a policeman prevented him from
driving onto the premises. The impact was heard up to two kilometers away, and shattered the glass
in buildings within a 200m radius. Three of the victims were women who were leaving the church
after the first service of the day, and one of them was pregnant.
In an interview, the Rev Father Peter Omore of St Finbarr’s Church said that the second service had
just started when they heard the explosion. “The Church shook and the glass shattered and the PVC
ceiling all fell in... I do not know the number of casualties now.”
The Plateau State Commissioner for Information expressed his grief at the incident. The Anglican
Archbishop of Jos, Rt Rev Benjamin Kwashi, said, "It is worrying that two bombs have gone off within
the space of two weeks, and many are fearing a third. Most importantly, a palpable terror is being
unleashed on Christians so that Sunday is transformed from a day of worship into a day of fear. We
are appealing to the church worldwide to pray without ceasing, and to members of the international
community to speak up and take action on our behalf so that we are able to enjoy full religious
freedom and worship God freely and without fear."
The blast provoked an angry reaction from local youths and in the immediate aftermath three men
on motorcycles were killed and their vehicles set on fire. When the youths went to the nearby Joint
Task Force (JTF) security post demanding to know how the car had eluded checks, and insisting that
the soldiers leave, four of them were shot and injured by the security forces. The youths later
refused to be placated by the governor and reportedly demanded the removal of the security forces
from the state so that they could be responsible for their own defence, adding that they would be
taking all necessary measures. They then proceeded to drive the soldiers out of the area and
mounted their own road block.
Five other people were reportedly killed in ensuing violence in the Ungwan Rukuba area on March
12 and the morning of March 13.Early rumours of ten deaths from “reprisal attacks”, which were
widely circulated, could not be confirmed by sources on the ground, and stoked tensions in the
5. April 2012
On Easter Sunday, 8 April, in Kaduna State, a suicide bomber detonated a car loaded with an
Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at Sardauna Crescent, by Junction Road, after a security guard
prevented him from entering the area surrounding 1st Evangelical Church All Winning (ECWA) on
Gwari Road. An estimated 12 people were killed immediately, but the number of dead and injured
continued to rise in the aftermath of the blast. The death toll eventually rose to 39 people, according
to reports by AFP News Agency. Mr. Francis Markus, a security guard attached to 1st ECWA
Church, told CSW-Nigeria (CSW-N) how he was able prevents the bomber from entering the area
near the church with the help of church member.
“I insisted that he will not pass until the service is over, but he insisted that he must pass. We
dragged this for some minutes. He entered the car and reversed and drove towards me. Yet I stood
my ground and held the iron which we used for the road block. He hit the iron against me. Luckily
enough, one of the church members came with his bike, parked and intervened. At this point we
noticed that the man was having an army uniform on the back seat of his car, and an army cap by the
rear wind screen. Then I told him that as an Army officer, for him to behave that way, he is a
disgrace to the Army.”
Ten minutes or so after the bomber drove away towards Junction Street, Mr. Markus heard the
explosion. An estimated 60 buildings within a 500 meters radius of the blast were severely damaged
by the blast and may need to be rebuilt. Eight cars and several commercial motorcycles were either
burnt or severely damaged. CSW-N estimated that property worth millions of Naira was destroyed
in the blast.
The Reverend Yunusa Nmadu, CEO of CSW-N, said, "I condemn in the strongest terms this
barbaric act of terrorism which, though aimed at the Church, has claimed the lives of innocent
Christians and Muslims of all tribes. CSW calls on the International community, and particularly the
US administration, to designate the deadly Islamist militia Boko Haram a terrorist group, because this
is what it is in reality. We particularly urge the Nigerian government to ensure adequate protection
for Christians and their properties, as they are the main targets and regular victims of the Boko
Boko Haram target University campus
On the morning of Sunday 29 April, members of Boko Haram attacked two lecture theatres in
Bayero University Kano (BUK) where congregations were holding church services. According to
local reports, there were explosions, and then gunmen opened fire simultaneously and
indiscriminately at the fleeing crowds in both venues in an attack that allegedly continued for over 40
minutes. So far 22 people are confirmed to have died during the attack, including three professors
and a doctor, while 23 are receiving treatment in hospital. On the same day, suspected Boko Haram
gunmen attacked the Sunday service of a Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) congregation in the
Borno State capital Maiduguri, killing five people, including the pastor, just as the communion service
The events at BUK marked the first attack by Boko Haram on a university premises. Commenting on
this attack a local source told CSW: “Our lives are being hunted like animals in the bush. The Church
in northern Nigeria is in even bigger trouble than we realise. Please mobilise global prayer for us.”
In the previous week, and for the first time, Boko Haram attacked newspaper offices in the capital
Abuja and the northern city of Kaduna leaving at least nine people dead. An eye witness to the
Kaduna bombing informed CSW Nigeria that after being prevented from parking his car at the
Kwantagora Junction by security personnel, the bomber informed them that he had an explosive
device in his vehicle. When asked to remove and disarm it, he threw it on the ground, where it
exploded, killing five people instantly and injuring many others. The bomber was arrested after being
rescued from an angry mob.
In a subsequent statement Boko Haram warned of further attacks on the press in response to
“misrepresentation”, adding that ThisDay newspapers had been particularly targeted to avenge a
2002 article on the Miss World competition that was alleged to have insulted the Prophet
Mohammed, and had sparked serious religious violence.
6. June 2012
Two Churches targeted in Bauchi State
At least 18 people died and 32 were wounded on June 3, in a suicide bomb attack by Boko Haram
that targeted two churches in Bauchi State, north east Nigeria.
The bombing occurred just as the congregation of Living Faith Church in Yelwa Tudu, Bauchi city was
leaving the service. However, the casualties came primarily from the neighbouring church, Harvest
Field Church for Christ, which bore the brunt of the explosion. Twelve cars and a number of
buildings were also reported to have been destroyed by the blast.
Local sources reported that rumours of imminent bombings by Boko Haram had circulated over the
weekend, and that while security in the area was initially reinforced, it had been relaxed prior to the
bombing. On Monday June 4, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attack stating “Today God
gave us victory by launching a suicide attack on a church in Yelwa neighborhood in Bauchi city”.1
Three other bombers carrying explosives were reportedly intercepted on their way to the Church of
Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) and Catholic churches in Yelwa Tudu, but were killed by angry crowds
that gathered there.
In a separate development, reports emerged on Saturday of a night attack by armed Fulani tribesmen
on Sansun Village in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA), Southern Kaduna State, in which a
man named Matthew Aetung and his son, were hacked to death, his wife was critically injured, and
his home was razed to the ground.
Churches attacked in Plateau, Biu and Borno States
Two churches were targeted in separate attacks that occurred in Jos, Plateau State, and Biu, Borno
State on Sunday 10 June.
The building of Christ Chosen Church, Rukuba Road, Jos collapsed after a saloon car loaded with
explosives rammed into one of its walls during the Sunday worship service. The bomber reportedly
disguised himself as a worshiper to evade local security. Once he gained entry to the area, he
accelerated his vehicle into Christ Chosen Church. The pastor of the church, Monday Uzoka, was
among an estimated 62 people who were critically injured. An estimated ten people are feared dead,
though an official figure is yet to be confirmed.
Meanwhile, in Biu, four gunmen invaded a Church of Brethren in Nigeria Church (EYN, Ekkilisiyar
yanuwa a Nigeria), shooting indiscriminately at church members and killing at least one person.
Several others were injured. The gunmen fled soon afterwards and were not apprehended. Biu is one
of the local government areas (LGA’s) in Borno State currently under a state of emergency. Boko
Haram claimed responsibility for these attacks.
Third consecutive weekend of Church attacks
On Sunday 17 June, a suicide bomber drove a car full of explosives into the Evangelical Church
Winning All (ECWA) Good News Church in Wusasa, Zaria, destroying the children’s church building
and killing a child and a young man. Several others were wounded, including many children and CSW
Nigeria’s coordinator for Zaria.
Also in Zaria, two suicide bombers in separate cars targeted Christ the King Catholic Church as the
congregation was leaving Mass, killing an estimated 16 people and wounding several others.
In the Trikaniya area of Kaduna City, another bomb exploded at the Shalom Pentecostal Church as
ushers were interrogating the bomber, killing three.
Yunusa Nmadu, CEO of CSW Nigeria, said, "Attacks on Christians while they legitimately worship
on Sundays are now a common occurrence. Unless the culture of impunity is overcome, our country
will slowly slip into another civil war that will be fought along religious lines."
In a comment on the targeting of church services, the Anglican Archbishop of Jos, the Most Rev
Benjamin Kwashi, said, "Weekends are now a terror for Christians in northern and central Nigeria.
My heart truly bleeds at the unnecessary killings and I am deeply saddened that in a nation like
Nigeria there are people who sponsor, plan, train and support people to execute evil specifically
targeted against worship of God on Sundays by Christians in churches."
More lives were lost in the aftermath of the bombings as sectarian violence erupted, with angry
youths taking to the streets of Sabon Tasha and Gonin Gora, in the southern part of Kaduna City, to
protest the inability of the security services to prevent the bombings of churches, which have taken
place every Sunday in northern Nigeria for the last three weeks. The situation in Kaduna City was
eventually brought under control when a 24-hour curfew was issued.
Boko Haram threaten to make June the ‘bloodiest month yet’
On 20 June, a spokesperson from Boko Haram told Sahara Reporters news agency that the group
had around 300 suicide bombers ready to attack churches in predominantly Christian Southern
Kaduna and Plateau State. The group claims to have recruited the sons and daughters of Muslims
killed during past sectarian conflicts, who have received arms and bomb-making training in Mauritania
Boko Haram also announced plans to attack or take over government buildings in Kano, Kaduna,
Yobe and Gombe states, adding that a major attack on the Federal Capital territory (FCT), namely,
the capital Abuja, was planned before the end of June as a show of strength to prove that the
Nigerian security agencies could not contain them.
Curfews had been used to restore order in Yobe and Kaduna States with varying success. In the
Yobe State Capital, Damaturu, a curfew was imposed following a sustained attack by around 100
heavily-armed members of Boko Haram on 18 June that lasted over 24 hours. Over 50 people were
confirmed dead. The curfew was relaxed on Thursday, the same day that Nigerian news agencies
reported the arrest in Damaturu of Habibu Bama, suspected master mind of the Christmas Day
bombing at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, following a shoot-out with the Joint Task Force.
In Kaduna City, a 24-hour curfew was imposed after reprisal attacks broke out in response to the
triple church bombings on 17 June. Attempts to relax the curfew on Monday resulted in more
violence, as Muslim youths attacked Christian homes and churches in retaliation for the reprisal
attacks. Though the 24-hour curfew was reinstated, sporadic outbreaks of violence continued to
occur throughout the city, including yesterday morning, and the atmosphere remains tense. The
curfew will be relaxed for Muslim prayers today from 12 to 4pm, reinstated on Saturday, and relaxed
again for Christian worship on Sunday from 9am to 1pm.
Curfew relaxed in Kaduna State
The Kaduna State Security Council decided to relax the 24-hour curfew after threats by Boko Haram
of coordinated attacks on Sunday church services did not take place.
Although no churches were targeted over the weekend, a bomb exploded at Bayan Gari in Bauchi
State at around 9pm on 24 June. There were no casualties; however nine people were injured in the
blast. Another explosion at a popular night spot in Abuja during the early hours of 23 June damaged
cars but caused no injuries.
Meanwhile, in Yobe State, members of Boko Haram stormed a prison, freeing 40 inmates. Patrick
Egbuniwe, Yobe State Police Commissioner, told Al-Jazeera that two of the attackers were shot dead
and some policemen were injured: "They attacked with rifles, the police and the joint task force
confronted them and the Boko Haram members that were shot were carried away by the sect."
7. July 2012
Explosion in Nigerian Capital
On July 5, a suspected bomb rocked a shopping centre in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. Police were
alerted to the blast at a shopping mall in Wuse Abuja II on Tuesday evening. There were no
immediate reports of casualties, and emergency services warned people against "going to the scene
of the bomb explosion for fear of secondary explosion and to allow emergency workers to have
More attacks in Plateau State
After three weeks of relative quiet and peaceful services in Nigeria, the government of Plateau State
placed four local government areas under curfew on Monday 9 July following a gun attack that left
two prominent politicians dead. Senator for Plateau State North Gyang Dalyop Datong and the
Honourable Gyang James Fulani, Majority Leader in the Plateau State House of Assembly, died during
an attack on the mass burial of victims of armed raids on a number of villages over the weekend by
An estimated 12 villages in Riyom and Barkin Ladi, situated on the outskirts of the state capital Jos,
were attacked simultaneously on Saturday 7 July by hundreds of heavily armed gunmen wearing
military camouflage and bullet proof vests, in raids reminiscent of the 2010 attacks on Dogo
Nahauwa, Zot and Ratsat villages in Jos South, which claimed an estimated 400 lives. Early news
reports suggest that at least 25 people are confirmed dead, five have been hospitalised and
approximately 150 displaced people have sought refuge in churches. The majority of victims were
women, children and the elderly. Reports also indicate that around 19 gunmen were later killed and
one was taken alive during an exchange of fire with the Joint Task Force (JTF).
A mass burial was hastily organised the next day, and as mourners proceeded to the site they are
reported to have discovered the burnt remains of around 50 more victims who had fled from the
villages to shelter in a Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) church in Matse Village, Riyom Local
Government Area (LGA). Later, the mourners themselves were ambushed in the armed attack
which claimed the lives of Senator Gyang Dalyop Datong, and Honourable Gyang James Fulani
amongst others, and from which a member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Simon
Madwakom, narrowly escaped.
There are conflicting reports indicating the two politicians either died of gunshot wounds or from
shock. Following their deaths, angry youths took to the streets, mounting roadblocks in the area.
Local people had allegedly reported the existence of a camp belonging to Fulani militants responsible
for village raids, but say no action was taken by the security services.
In a comment to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the Anglican Archbishop of Jos, the Most
Reverend Benjamin Kwashi condemned the “detestable” attack on funeral goers and expressed
anxiety for the future if the targeting of villages continues unchecked.
“This kind of unprovoked, deliberate attempt to overrun a population cannot succeed in the long
run, whether or not the government takes action to stem it. Unfortunately, there is now an army of
jobless young people aged 20 and under, who no longer attend church and for whom countering the
violence is now a matter of survival. They do not listen to what you say, but watch what you do.
They are seeing Boko Haram succeed using violent methods and if we are not careful, they
themselves will soon be adopting Boko Haram’s methods. We urgently need to engage them and
provide direction. The only legacy we should leave for them is the legacy of working for peace.”
The latest estimates of the weekend’s death toll currently stand at 104, including the dead militants.
On July 10, Boko Haram issued a statement accepting responsibility for the attacks and said
“Christians ‘will not know peace again’ if they do not accept Islam”.2
8. International response to Boko Haram attacks
On 22 June, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
condemned the repeated attacks on churches by Boko Haram and warned that acts against civilians,
including on such grounds as religion or ethnicity, could amount to crimes against humanity.
Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the OHCHR, said: “We condemn the repeated attacks by Boko
Haram on places of worship and on religious freedom, as well as its blatant attempts to stir sectarian
tensions and violence between two communities that have lived together peacefully for so long.”
“Deliberate acts leading to population ‘cleansing’ on grounds of religion or ethnicity would also
amount to a crime against humanity.”
In a statement released on 19 June, Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European
Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, condemned
both the attacks on churches and the reprisal attacks against members of the Muslim community.
“The EU will renew its efforts in cooperation with the government and people of Nigeria to address
the underlying social and economic problems in the north of the country, and work with the
authorities to make the fight against terrorism more effective.”
Pope Benedict XVI calls for freedom of religion, not vengeance
On 22 June Pope Benedict XVI spoke out about his “deep concern” about events in Nigeria. He not
only assured the victims of his prayers and support, but also expressed his hope “that there might be
full cooperation among all members of Nigerian society, that they might forgo the path of vengeance,
and that all citizens might rather work together to build a peaceful and reconciled society, in which
the right freely to profess one’s faith is fully protected”.