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.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    What Your First Name Says About Who You Support for President

    Bobby, Betty and Curtis tend to support Donald Trump while people named Juan, Liz or Mohammad are more likely to lean toward Hillary Clinton

    South Pole Diary: In Round-the-clock Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun

    You hear more and see more when the moon first comes out; it’s your senses in overdrive, tuning into a new world.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora