At least 200 people were killed and three villages were raided in a major new offensive by Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria on Monday. The gunmen reportedly dressed like soldiers and tricked the locals before carrying out the massacre.
"We all thought they were the soldiers that we earlier reported to that the insurgents might attack us," said one community leader who escaped the massacre, The Associated Press reported.
The attacks focused on the villages of Danjara, Agapalwa, and Antagara in northeastern Nigeria. The terrorists reportedly drove into the villages in pickup trucks used by the military and said that they were soldiers who were there to "protect" the villagers. As people gathered in the center, the gunmen began shouting "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar" (God is great), before they opened fire. more >>
Persecution watchdog group Open Doors has released its top 10 list of countries where Christians face the most violent attacks for their faith, with Nigeria topping the list.
"The alarming trend of violence against Christians in Nigeria over the past months highlights the lack of religious freedom they have and the daily dangers they face from the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram and other violent Islamic organizations," said Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. David Curry.
"Going to school, attending church or identifying yourself as a Christian is a very brave decision in Nigeria. It is turning into a bloodbath. Christians in the West must stand in the gap with our prayers and support." more >>
Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, who is running largely unopposed, is expected to be re-elected as president after voting began this week. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called the elections a "farce."
CNN reported on Tuesday that the outcome of the elections is not in doubt, and Assad is expected to continue his Syrian regime. Assad first came to power 14 years ago.
The other candidates for the presidency, businessman and former government minister Hassan al-Nouri, and Maher Hajjar, a lawmaker, are largely unknown and not expected to mount a serious challenge. more >>
At least 30 Christians were shot dead by Muslim rebels in an attack on a church in the war-torn Central African Republic, a pastor said.
"We were in the church when were heard the shooting outside," the Rev. Freddy Mboula of Notre Dame de Fatima in Bangui told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "There were screams and after 30 minutes of gunfire there were bodies everywhere."
Christian and Muslim militias have had several clashes in the troubled African nation since the Seleka coalition left power in January. The fighting between Seleka rebels and anti-balaka fighters escalated following the resignation of interim President Michel Djotodia earlier this year. more >>
The president of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs has condemned the actions of militant group Boko Haram, proclaiming that terrorism "has no place" in Islam. The Roman Catholic Cardinal Archbishop of Abuja applauded those comments.
"Terrorism has no place in Islam," said the the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar III, according to Fides News Agency. "We must rise up as always, with one voice to condemn all acts of terrorism, condemn those terrorists wherever they are and try our best as Muslims to ensure peace reigns in our community."
Cardinal John Onaiyekan, who was previously the president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria, congratulated the Sultan for his "bold statement," and said that it has given him the courage to speak out on the issue. more >>
The Nigerian army has reportedly located where the 270 or so schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamic militants Boko Haram are being held, but are afraid of attacking because it might endanger their lives.
Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh said on Monday that "the good news for the parents of the girls is that we know where they are," BBC News reported, but refused to give out their location.
"But where they are held, can we go there with force? We can't kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back," he added. more >>