Africa

Boko Haram attack caps week of bloodshed in Nigeria

Aftermath of Boko Haram attack in Zabarmari, Nigeria, 4 July 2015 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Large numbers were killed in Zabarmari on Friday

A suicide bomber has attacked a church in Nigeria, capping a week in which more than 200 people died in Boko Haram violence.

At least five worshippers were killed in Sunday's attack as they were entering the church in Potiskum in the north-east of the country.

The Islamist extremists of Boko Haram have carried out a six-year campaign of violence in Nigeria's northeast.

The recent attacks have brought condemnation from Nigeria's president.

Muhammadu Buhari, speaking on Friday, described as a "heinous atrocity" the latest wave of violence.

The recent attacks include:

  • Friday: several suicide bombers kill large numbers in Zabarmari village
  • Thursday: two female suicide bombers attack another village in Borno state
  • Wednesday: more than 50 gunmen kill 97 people in the village of Kukawa, near Lake Chad
  • Tuesday: 48 men shot dead after prayers in two villages near the town of Monguno

Sunday's attack was carried out at the Redeemed Christian Church of God on the outskirts of Potiskum in Yobe state.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption President Buhari has called for a regional force to be deployed more rapidly

Witnesses and the police told AFP news agency that the pastor, a woman and her two children were among those killed.

Boko Haram took control of a large area of north-eastern Nigeria last year and declared a caliphate (a state governed in accordance with Islamic law).

However, Nigeria's military, backed by troops from neighbouring countries, has recaptured most of the territory.

In an effort to counter the growing violence, Nigeria is leading a military effort with neighbouring countries. Mr Buhari called for the regional military force to be deployed more rapidly.

According to Amnesty International, at least 17,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since 2009, when Boko Haram launched its violent uprising to try to impose militant Islamist rule.

Will new military HQ make a difference?

Why Boko Haram remains a threat

The group is still holding many women, girls and children captive, including 219 schoolgirls it kidnapped from a school in Chibok in April last year.


Boko Haram at a glance

Image copyright AFP
  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education - Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009
  • Joined Islamic State
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, abducted hundreds, including at least 200 schoolgirls
  • Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
  • Regional force has retaken most territory

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