Church Bombings And Reprisal Killings In Nigeria

Jun 19, 2012

Violence may be letting up for the moment in northern Nigeria, following two days of attacks by members of the violent Boko Haram militant group. Militants battled Nigerian police in the and military buildings in northeast Nigeria on Monday, with reports of gunfights and bombs in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state.

A group of militants were apparently headed for the Yobe governor's residence when they were stopped, according to AllAfrica.

The fighting erupted after Sunday's three suicide attacks against Nigerian churches in northern Kaduna state that killed several people and enraged young men. Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the suicide blasts. Voice of America says the group emailed a statement, warning the church bombings were in response to attacks against Muslims and that militants would continue to target women and children.

Young men responded to the church attacks by stopping dozens of cars and dragging out and murdering motorists who were perceived to be Muslim, says the Guardian.

The Nigerian Red Cross says the death toll is at least 50 people, and includes victims of the church bombings and those slain in reprisal killings. The AP says Nigerian authorities worry that listing the cause of the deaths will divide the victims into Christian and Muslim categories and spur even more reprisal killings.

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