Terrorists Attack Christian Communities in Northeast Nigeria 

Homes, harvested crops destroyed; woman slain in same area.

Location of Borno state, Nigeria. (Uwe Dedering, Creative Commons)

Location of Borno state, Nigeria. (Uwe Dedering, Creative Commons)

ABUJA, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) on Dec. 19 burned homes in Borno state, Nigeria, nine days after terrorists killed a pregnant Christian woman in the same area, sources said.

The ISWAP terrorists attacked predominantly Christian Jibwiwi (Debiro) village in Hawul County and Ngulde village in Askira/Uba County at about 6 p.m., burning several houses and destroying livestock and storehouses of harvested crops, said area resident Shawulu Yohanna.

“They rode on motorcycles, armed with guns and cluster bombs, which they used in attacking two communities,” Yohanna said in a text message to Morning Star News. “The people in the two villages were able to escape the onslaught as no one was killed.”

On Dec. 10, terrorists invaded a home in Hawul County’s Pelachiroma village and shot dead a pregnant Christian woman, Mary Barka Paul Sawa, Yohanna said. Sawa’s husband, Paul Sawa, was wounded in the attack before escaping.

“Her husband escaped the attack with gunshot wounds,” Yohanna said. “Their house was raided by the terrorists at night.”

Habila Lemaka of the Hawul Local Government Police Division told Morning Star News in a text message confirmed the attacks on the three communities.

“Remember that these areas have been under constant attacks from the terrorists,” Lemaka said.

Sani Shatambaya, spokesman of the Borno State Police Command, concurred that ISWAP members attacked the areas.

“It is true that the areas in question were attacked by ISWAP terrorists,” Shatambaya said. “Military and police personnel have been deployed to the affected communities in order to repel these incursions by the terrorists.”

An Abubakar Shekau-led faction of Boko Haram in 2016 formally aligned with the Islamic State and changed its name to Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), though many Nigerians still refer to the Shekau-led faction of ISWAP by its original name, Boko Haram.

Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith last year (Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021) at 4,650, up from 3,530 the previous year, according to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List report. The number of kidnapped Christians was also highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the previous year, according to the WWL report.

Nigeria trailed only China in the number of churches attacked, with 470 cases, according to the report.

In the 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to seventh place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 9 the previous year.

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