News / Africa

Gunmen in Central Nigeria Attack Church, Kill at Least 19

Okene, Nigeria
Okene, Nigeria
Nancy Palus
DAKAR — Late Monday, gunmen killed at least 19 people and wounded several others, including children, in an attack on a church in Kogi State, in south-central Nigeria. 

Bombings and other kinds of attacks on churches are common in Nigeria, but a local official says this is the first time such an attack has taken place in Kogi, which is farther south than the states previously affected.  
Several gunmen reportedly stormed the church, near the city of Okene, in Kogi State, during a worship service on Monday evening.
Jacob Edi, spokesperson for the Kogi State governor, spoke to VOA while on his way to the attack scene. He said that women and children were among the victims.

“Two women are confirmed to have been among the people that died.  We don’t know the casualty figures of children yet but a lot of children were wounded.”

Boko Haram Facts

  • Based in the northeastern city of Maiduguri
  • Began in 2002 as a non-violent Islamist splinter group
  • Launched uprising in 2009; leader was subsequently killed in police custody
  • Has killed hundreds in bombings and shootings since 2010
  • Boko Haram translates to "Western education is sinful"
  • Wants Nigeria to adopt strict Islamic law
  • Says it will kidnap women and children as part of its campaign
  • Has taken over parts of northeastern Nigeria
Kogi State is about 250 kilometers southwest of the capital, Abuja. The Islamic militant group Boko Haram has claimed a number of attacks on churches and other public venues, mostly in central and northern Nigeria.

Nigeria, with a population of more than 160 million, is roughly divided between a Muslim-dominated north and a Christian-majority south.
Boko Haram says it wants to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria and does not recognize the Nigerian government or the constitution.
While it is not yet known who carried out Monday's attack, spokesperson Edi said the incident has people worried that violence common in other parts of Nigeria is now arriving in Kogi.
“This is the first time we are having this major attack on a church in Kogi State.  Kogi State is a very peaceful state," said Edi. "So that is why we are worried that this thing is creeping into this state."
People in Kogi said it is a generally peaceful region with a mixed Muslim and Christian population. A local journalist said it is common to see households with people of both religions.

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Comment Sorting
by: Robert George from: Dubai
August 08, 2012 7:06 AM
It’s surprising that while the shooting incident that killed Sikh worshipers at a Gurudwara in Milwaukee, US, has grabbed headlines in almost all media, with reactions pouring in and the US national flag at half mast, innumerable killings of Christians, including 19 yesterday, by Islamists in Nigeria draw nary a murmur or complain from global media. Why do the media and governments continue to pander to Islamists and underplay their heinous acts?

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 07, 2012 9:04 AM
The commissioner of Police in Kogi State should resign with delay for failing to live up to his responsibility. The church that met on Monday night did not start meeting on that monday night - it had been meeting there regularly and with the previous jailbreak it is not to be accepted that the attack came unawares. Goes to show the level of involvement at high levels of government, the police and the army in further unleashing boko haram terror on unsuspecting innocent Nigerians. This attack could not have happened without the active collaboration and connivance with the police and the army.

And corruption has so beclouded the presidency to crown a boko haram supporter to head the Nigerian Police Force. No one knows yet how this sager is expected to end when the president is spineless, the head of security and police corrupt muslims convicted and thirsty for Christian blood, and every level of justice system enmeshed in graft. Methinks this blood letting is not only a thing of boko haram agenda but much more for blood hunger at some levels unknown to Nigerians. For were it all for boko haram, the security forces would have been able to stop it.And the presidency would have taken action against Iran after it became clear that the arms for prosecuting this unholy war comes from Tehran, all this but for a figurehead president.

by: muhammad from: washington dc
August 07, 2012 8:08 AM
this is a peaceful religion indeed
In Response

by: Anonymous
August 07, 2012 9:33 AM
i think so

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