- (Photo: Credit: Reuters/Eric Gaillard)
Islamic terrorists suspected to be from the Boko Haram group have launched another wave of attacks in Nigeria, killing at least 23 people who they deemed to have been breaking Sharia Law.
The two separate attacks occurred on Monday and Tuesday in north-east Nigeria, and targeted people selling pork, which Muslims are forbidden to eat, and a group engaged in gambling, which is also against Islamic law, BBC News reported.
Boko Haram has made it their mission to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state and drive out the nation's Christians, who make up half of the country's population, by any means necessary. In the last few years they have bombed churches, killed pastors and gunned down close to 1,400 people since 2010.
The first attack, on Monday, occurred at a market in Damboa in Borno state, where Boko Haram has been especially active. The gunmen apparently targeted hunters who were selling meat from monkeys and pigs, according to a local government official.
"Gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram came to the town market and shot dead 13 local hunters on the spot while five others died from their injuries at the hospital," the official said.
And on Tuesday, gunmen on motorbikes in the city of Kano in northern Nigeria attacked people playing an outdoor board game, killing five. The victims were suspected to have been gambling, which is against Sharia law codes based on the Quran.
Although Boko Haram mostly has targeted Christians, trying to drive them out of the Muslim-dominated North, they have been ruthless against anyone that stands in their way or opposes their plans to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state. The country is currently split along religious and geographic lines, with Christians making up the majority in the South. The different faiths had coexisted in relative peace for years before Boko Haram began their attacks in 2010.
"The Nigerian state and Christians are our enemies and we will be launching attacks on the Nigerian state and its security apparatus as well as churches until we achieve our goal of establishing an Islamic state in place of the secular state," Boko Haram explained in a statement in June.
The Islamic terrorists killed 12 Christians in Nigeria during Christmas Eve attacks, but suffered 13 casualties in January when Nigerian armed forces stormed one of their strongholds and fought back against the Islamist militants.
The U.S. State Department has still not declared the entirety of Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, although a petition from Nigerian Christians is looking to change that.