- (Photo: Reuters)
International Christian Concern says that the latest suicide bomb blasts in Kano, Nigeria, that killed at least 20 people, were targeting the minority Christian churches there. Concerns are that Islamic militants are once again focusing their sights on Christians in their ongoing war against the Nigerian government.
"The most recent bombing in Kano's predominantly Christian district greatly concerns us. It's been 10 months since a major attack has targeted Kano's minority Christian community. Amidst all Christians must continue to face throughout northeast Nigeria, any indication that Islamist militants and extremists are becoming more and more capable of highly lethal attacks, such as this one, is alarming," ICC's regional manager for Africa, William Stark, said.
"Already, more than 1,500 innocents, including hundreds of Christians, have been murdered this year alone. Much more must be done to improve the Nigerian state's capability to protect its citizens, including its Christian minorities, who are highly susceptible to violence and easily targeted for the expression of their faith," Stark added.
The intended targets were reportedly The Methodist Church of Nigeria, an Assemblies of God Church and a Universal Reformed Christian Church, all closely grouped together in the predominantly Christian Sabon Gari District. The area was targeted in similar attacks last year that killed close to 50 people in March and July.
Nigeria suffered a number of deadly bomb attacks this past week, with another two car bombs in the central city of Jos killing at least 118 people on Tuesday.
While the bombers have not yet come forward, Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram has been attacking Nigerian Christians and government buildings for close to five years now in their mission to establish Islamic rule on the country.
His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, archbishop of Jos, said that the latest bomb attacks on the city will "not stop dialogue between Christians and Muslims," however.
"Before the explosions, ethnic and religious divisions were trying to be dealt with among the different components of our society. Let me give an example: Two weeks ago we launched a fundraising campaign to build the new cathedral, given that the current one is too small to accommodate the faithful who attend the celebrations," Kaigama siad, according to Fides News Agency.
"We also invited Muslim leaders to attend the ceremony and we appreciated their presence. This is a clear demonstration of the progress made in the dialogue between Christians and Muslims."
Yet another attack near the capital Abuja in April left at least 71 people killed and over 124 injured. A Roman Catholic priest stated that Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram was likely responsible for the bus bombings.
"The bus depot where the explosion took place is normally used by a large number of commuters to get to work in the center of the capital," Fr. Patrick Tor Alumuku, director of Social Communications of the Archdiocese of Abuja, said at the time. "The victims are therefore normal people, who belong to the working class, who were on their way to work."