Islamic Extremist Violence Persists in Iraq, Nigeria – and Kenya?

Car-bombings, executions continue in two countries as doubts linger about end of siege in Nairobi.

LOS ANGELES (Morning Star News) – Amid the wave of Islamic extremist bombings that have taken place in Iraq in the past week, one aimed at a Christian member of Parliament went largely unnoticed. Catholic news agency Fides News Agency (Agenzia Fides) reports that an apparent suicide attack by car bomb in Kirkuk on Sunday (Sept. 22) was aimed at Imad Youkhana, a member of parliament belonging to the Assyrian Democratic Movement. While Youkhana was not hurt, his wife and sons were among the 50 people wounded when the car bomb exploded in front of his residence.

The attack followed a suicide car-bombing in near funeral tents in a Shia area of Baghdad on Saturday (Sept. 21) that killed scores of people. A surge in bloodshed in recent months has killed thousands of Iraqis, as appeals for restraint from Shia and Sunni political leaders have fallen on deaf ears.

In Nigeria, vigilantes are reportedly mounting attacks against the Islamic extremist Boko Haram group that has killed thousands of people. Apparent reprisal attacks by the well-organized Boko Haram, which has reportedly formed links with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, left at least 142 people dead last week. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that 142 bodies have been found in and around Benisheik, Borno state following attacks by suspected members of the Islamic extremist group, which seeks to impose strict sharia (Islamic law) across Nigeria.

Boko Haram, loosely translated as “Western education is a sin,” had attacked police and telecommunications targets in Yadi Buni in Yobe state on Wednesday (Sept. 18) armed with Kalashnikov rifles, rocket launchers and home-made bombs. The previous day, Boko Haram gunmen stopped travelers on the Maiduguri to Damaturu Express Way in the early evening and, according to one survivor, singled out people from Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, for execution; 143 commuters were killed while others were abducted, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

The Islamic extremists then ransacked Benisheik, some 46 miles west of Maiduguri, killing more than a dozen people and setting fire to 100 homes, businesses and vehicles. At least 50 of 160 killed by Boko Haram in August were said to be vigilantes attempting to take matters into their own hands after government interventions have met with limited success.

In Kenya, the government has been claiming since Sunday (Sept. 22) that the siege of the Westgate shopping center by Islamic extremist Al Shabaab gunmen has virtually ended, but gunfire and explosions continued on Tuesday, according to The Globe and Mail. Some 10 to 15 members of Al Shabaab, which is fighting the government in Somalia and has ties with Al Qaeda, stormed the mall on Saturday (Sept. 21), ordering Muslims to leave before beginning a killing spree.

The government said it has killed six gunmen and was “mopping up,” but the terrorists and several hostages within the mall were still unaccounted for.


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