Suspected Islamic militants bombed worshipers at three Christian churches on Sunday in northern Nigeria, killing some 23 people. Frustrated with the government’s inability to stop a string of such attacks in recent months, some Christians responded today with reprisals, killing at least 7 more people.
More than 150 people, mostly Christians, have been injured from today’s violence. Police have not confirmed casualty figures, which are tallies from hospital officials.
In 2012 alone, more than 10 Christian churches have been attacked in Nigeria. Boko Haram, a militant Islamic sect, has claimed responsibility for some of these attacks, including attacks on two churches last Sunday…
The explosions sparked violence in Kaduna as Christian youths retaliated, moving around with cutlasses and sticks among other weapons. The youths burned one mosque and broke into and vandalized another.
About 35 victims of the reprisal attacks have been taken to St. Gerard’s Hospital, according to the hospital’s public relations officer. Seven of them were dead on arrival, burned by their presumed assailants.
This, unfortunately fails both the test of pragmatism and idealism, something noted by a local analyst:
“The reprisal attack is wrong because the solution to the country’s insecurity is by ensuring dialogue with the sect members who are attacking the Christians and even Muslims,” says Ignatius Kasuwa, an analyst from Kaduna state, the scene of today’s church attacks.
Mr. Kasuwa also appealed to the government to immediately overcome the issue of insecurity in the country, stressing that “Muslims and Christians worship God but reprisal is against the teaching of the two religions.”
Perhaps even more unfortunately, all of this was entirely foreseen. The church in Nigeria has suffered terrible atrocities, the like of which I have no direct analog in my personal experience (nor do most Westerners), and so it is important to note that the above is not intended to be a statement of judgment against the Nigerians. It is meant to be an expression of hope that my brothers and sisters who have the opportunity to glorify God by participating in the sufferings of Jesus and bearing admirably the weight of persecution will take the opportunity afforded by global attention to be a light to the world, shining forth the humble, powerful, indomitable spirit of the faith.