Radical Christian Persecution of Boko Haram Sparks International Debate

4798On Dec. 1, a group of Islamic radicals raided the village of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria. The group of radicals, armed with guns, machetes and explosives, moved through the predominately Christian part of the village and began chanting "Allahu Akbar," meaning "god is greatest." They broke into Christian houses and proceeded to slit the throats of 10 Christians including one pastor.

Since Boko Haram began its armed insurgency in Nigeria, more than 3,000 people have been murdered
In a separate attack, three churches, along with a police station and an immigration and customs office, were burned down in Gamboru Ngala, another town in Nigeria's northern regions. Another large group of armed radicals overran security forces before setting fire to the buildings.

Many suspect that the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram is behind these attacks. "The men came in large numbers and went into homes ... which were carefully selected and slaughtered the people while shouting 'Allahu Akbar,'" a resident of Chibok told the Botswana Gazette. "Who else apart from Boko Haram members would go into homes and slit the throats of 10 people?" a local official asked the press.

A History of Violence
This is only the latest attack perpetrated by the Islamic extremist group. On Nov. 25, a twin suicide bomb attack at St. Andrew's Military Protestant Church showed the capability of Boko Haram's acts of terror. In that attack, not one, but two vehicles--a bus and a car--laden with explosives infiltrated the Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Jaji, located 20 miles outside of Kaduna City. Once both vehicles were in place, the bus rammed into the side of the church located on the college's campus.

After penetrating the wall of the church, the bus detonated its deadly payload. Fortunately, no one was injured in this initial attack. After the first explosion, people raced to the scene to see how they could assist anyone who was injured. When many of the first responders had gathered at the first blast site, a car parked nearby exploded. Eleven people were killed in the second blast, and 30 others were wounded.

An International Debate
Since Boko Haram began its armed insurgency in Nigeria, more than 3,000 people have been murdered. So far the reaction to the violence perpetrated in Nigeria by Boko Haram is mixed. Christian groups both in Nigeria and the United States have called on the U.S. government to label the extremist group a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Designating Boko Haram an FTO is adamantly opposed by the Nigerian government.

According to the Nigerian government, the U.S. designating Boko Haram an FTO would be counterproductive in confronting the group. According to the Nigerian ambassador to the U.S., the FTO designation would be embarrassing for Nigeria as a nation. It would essentially say that Nigeria was incapable of handling Boko Haram and it needed the international community's help.

The Nigerian government also believes the designation would energize Boko Haram and its supporters. The FTO designation would inflate Boko Haram's international prestige, possibly bringing it to the attention of larger Islamic groups who would be willing and able to support them with funds, arms and training.

Source: Charisma News | WILLIAM STARK/ICC
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