Boko Haram kills 11, abducts priest in Christmas Eve attack on Christian village

A man holds a sign that reads "Stop Boko Haram" at a rally to support Chadian troops heading to Cameroon to fight Boko Haram, in Ndjamena January 17, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Emmanuel Braun)

A predominantly Christian village in Nigeria was attacked on Christmas Eve, leaving several people dead. 

At least 11 people were killed in the attack on Pemi village in Borno state, according to AFP news agency. 

A church was also set on fire and the priest abducted, the news agency reports. 

The attack has been blamed on Boko Haram, a militant group that has been terrorizing Christian communities across the northeast of Nigeria for years. 

A local leader told AFP that gunmen rode into the village on trucks and motorbikes, and started shooting indiscriminately.

"The terrorists killed seven people, burned 10 homes and looted food supplies that were meant to be distributed to residents to celebrate Christmas," militia leader Abwaku Kabu said.

Speaking to Christian Today days before the attack, Open Doors analyst Illia Djadi said that Christians across Nigeria were fearful of Christmas attacks. 

"Christians even expect to be attacked around Christmas because it's also about communication," he explained.

"These terrorists are well organized and communication is important to them. They abducted the schoolboys from Katsina state, the very home state of President Buhari while he was there visiting.

"They did that to send a strong message to all Nigerians that they can even attack where the president himself is.

"So the timing is not a coincidence; they choose the timing to attract the most attention."

The attack on Pemi is close to where Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014. Over a hundred of the girls are still in captivity. 

Djadi said Boko Haram's aim was to create a caliphate and establish Sharia law in the northeast.

"Christians are the primary target because they are not Muslims. The radicals want to turn them into Muslims by force and if they refuse, they will kill them or turn them into sex slaves," he said.

"They also attack moderate Muslims who don't share this radical interpretation of Islam," he added.

Originally published at Christian Today 

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