- (Photo: Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)
A Nigerian man was charged on Friday for the 2011 Christmas Day bombing of a Roman Catholic Church in Madalla, on the outskirts of Abuja, which killed 37 people and wounded 57 others.
Kabiru Sokoto was arrested in January 2012, but managed to escape a day later, before being captured by authorities again, Reuters reported. Justice Adeniyi Ademola has charged him with terrorism, to which the man has pleaded not guilty.
The Daily Post, a Nigerian publication, says that Sokoto allegedly has links to the Boko Haram terrorist organization, which claims responsibility for the bombing of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla. The faction has slaughtered close to 3,000 people in bombings and shootings of churches and government buildings in the last few years in Nigeria.
"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 said in a June 2012 video.
Despite the efforts of President Goodluck Jonathan, the terrorist group continues its attacks, and because of its shadowy nature, few of its members have been identified or captured.
"The accused was charged for allegedly being a member of a terrorist group known as Boko Haram between 2007 and 2012 at Mabira Sokoto in Sokoto State. He was also allegedly found to have facilitated the execution of a terrorist act within the period," The Daily Post report.
Sokoto's case has been adjourned for May.
Just last week, Boko Haram rejected any notions that it would be willing to accept an amnesty deal from the government as a way to stop the killings.
"Surprisingly, the Nigerian government is talking about granting us amnesty. What wrong have we done? On the contrary, it is we that should grant you [a] pardon," argued Abubakar Shekau, the group's leader, in Hausa language audio recordings.