In response to some of the most violent attacks in the region in recent months, the Nigerian army has raided what is believed to be a Boko Haram hideout in the northern city of Kano, engaging in a shootout with the Islamist insurgents who have been making Christians their primary target.
The hideout was a two-bedroom bungalow, AFP reported, and troops moved in early Tuesday morning at around 4:30 a.m in three armored carriers and a bulldozer. One Islamist was killed in the shootout while others escaped – the army, however, was able to recover weapons and ammunition found at the base.
Among the weapons and ammo recovered were 35 low-caliber IEDs (improvised explosive devices), five high-caliber remote control IEDs, one AK-47 rifle, 458 rounds of ammunition, 35 knives, two laptops, a motorcycle, and a bag of fertilizer. Messages presumed to be from the Boko Harem leadership to the insurgents stationed at the hideout were found, and three women suspected to be connected with the Islamists were also apprehended at the scene.
"I was married to my husband a year ago. We met in Wudil. I only came to know that he was a member of Boko Haram recently. He managed to escape during the raid this morning," reportedly explained one of the women.
The terror group has been targeting churches and Christian congregations throughout the country for a number of months now, and has murdered hundreds in various blasts and shootings in the past year.
Just this past Sunday, 16 worshippers were killed when gunmen suspected to be Islamist militants opened fire in Kano, targeting an area in the Bayero University campus where churches hold Sunday services. Later in the day, a pastor and three church members were shot dead after gunmen attacked the Church of Christ in Nigeria in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has faced increased scrutiny over his perceived helplessness in standing up to the militants who are waging war on the country's Christians.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) released a statement on Monday directly asking President Jonathan to step down if he cannot put an end to the bloodshed spreading through Nigeria's churches.
"We are telling President Goodluck Jonathan, if he has not done anything to put an end to this madness, then, he should know that there is trouble in his hand," CAN's statement read. "To us, we feel that government is just playing games and politics with the church and the church is not going to take it anymore because anybody who kills is a murderer or arsonist."
"Why is the government becoming helpless to bring these people to book? Is the government telling us that a particular tribe or religion is superior to every other person in this country? We are feeling serious pains and disappointment at the entire system called Nigeria," the declaration continued.