By Ndahi Marama
MAIDUGURI — IT was a black Christmas in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, as 30 suspected Boko Haram armed members attacked Victory Baptist Church, Alamderi, and Sinimari Church of Chirst in Nigeria, COCIN, killing six people, including Rev. Bulus T. Marwa, 37, and a retired soldier, Mr. Philip Sopso.
The attacks and the killings occurred simultaneously on Friday at about 6:30pm and 7:30pm, when the suspected armed Boko Haram members attacked the COCIN Church and set ablaze the Dala Baptist Church, before killing its pastor at his official residence, with 25 members of the church injured.
Confirming the attacks and killings, Borno Police Commissioner, Mohammed Abubakar, said in an interview: “Yes, we confirmed the serial and coordinated attacks and killings on the two churches. It is very unfortunate at this time of the Christmas season for the outlawed sect members to launch fresh attacks and killings on innocent citizens of this state without any cause.”
He said the armed sect members could have been arrested, if the Divisional Police Officers, DPOs had heeded his warnings on the planned attacks of the rampaging feared outlawed sect members that resurfaced two weeks after the Zinnari community attacks where one was shot in the leg. He added that already the police divisions had enough patrol vehicles to have prevented the Christmas day killings.
Similarly, reacting to the attacks and killings, Governor Ali Modu Sheriff in an interview at Government House, Maiduguri, said: “It is very unfortunate and sad for the Christian community to be attacked and killed without any genuine cause whatever.
“Prior to these attacks and killings, I alerted the police and other security agencies in the state to take no chances of any reprisals from the outlawed sect members,” stating that yesterday’s attacks and killings could have been prevented if the police had heeded to my security advice.”
At Sinimari COCIN Church, the gate and walls of the church were riddled with bullets, after armed suspects in two vehicles killed the security guard, Mr. Sopso, 60. The church was not set ablaze.