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The government of Nigeria has been prompted by a pair of suicide attacks on Christian churches to offer cash rewards to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest or capture of a leader of the Boko Haram Muslim terror group.
Africa analyst William Stark of the human rights group International Christian Concern says Nigeria’s government has been ineffective at stopping Boko Haram’s attacks, so the reward money may be an act of desperation.
“The government has engaged the extremist group but has found limited success in curtailing the group’s acts of terror against the Christian population in the north,” Stark said. “Many suspect there are ties between Boko Haram and the local governments in Nigeria’s north. This makes it very doubtful that the offered reward will help end the group’s campaign of terror.”
The offer came only days after the latest attacks – a pair of suicide church bombings.
“St. Andrew’s Church was attacked by two suicide bombers in separate vehicles. Minutes after mass, a bus full of explosives was rammed into the church and then exploded,” Stark said. “This first attack didn’t cause any casualties.”
Starks said a second vehicle was present to finish the job.
“After the first blast, people ran to the site to assist those injured in the blast. Unfortunately, a second suicide bomber was parked in a car full of explosives near the first blast site,” Stark said. “When people gathered at the first blast site, the second bomber detonated his car full of explosives. The blast killed 11 people and injured over 30 others.”
Analysts say the attack presents a bigger challenge to Nigerian authorities because of the church’s location. Stark explained that Nigerian military officials thought the church would have been secure.
Open Doors USA spokeswoman Emily Fuentes said in a statement to WND that the attack has created more uncertainty in Nigeria’s Middle Belt.
“Many Nigerians are shocked by Sunday’s bombing, wondering how the attackers could have entered the barracks, which houses Nigeria’s elite military training center, without some inside help,” Fuentes said.
The church is inside the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, officials explained.
Stark agreed that the attack further raises security concerns.
“It is still unclear how two bombers were able to gain access to the compound and the matter is currently under investigation,” Stark said.
Then there are the logistics of the attack.
“St. Andrew’s is located in Jaji, a town 20 miles outside of the state capital Kaduna city. Jaji is located in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region, which is currently where the extremist group Boko Haram has perpetrated a series of attacks on churches,” Stark said.
Fuentes added that Boko Haram carried out a shooting attack a day later.
However, Stark said more action is needed, and not just in Nigeria.
“Decisive action needs to be taken against Boko Haram. Not just by the Nigerian government, but also by the international community. The International Criminal Court is beginning to investigate the group’s acts of violence to see if the group can be charged with crimes against humanity. The court specifically cited Boko Haram’s acts of terror against Christians as support for its crimes against humanity charge.”