Boko Haram Attacks Claim 7 Christians on Christmas Eve

This Christmas Eve, Boko Haram members launched an attack against Christian communities in Pemi and Debro of Borno State, Nigeria. Surviving residents of these communities report that on December 24 around 6 p.m., Boko Haram jihadists attacked Christians and set fire to the local Church of the Brethren (EYN). Attackers additionally looted Christian homes in search of food and other materials, and some of these houses were subsequently set on fire by the attackers as well. As a result of the attacks, 7 Christians died in Borno State on Christmas Eve, and extensive damage was rendered to the local hospital and its medical supply storage.

In a nearly identical attack in neighboring Adamawa State, in the town of Garkida, Boko Haram members ambushed the village, forcing the local Christians to halt their Christmas planning and seek safety. The attackers in Garkida, similar to in Pemi and Debro, set fire to various Christian homes and looted drug stores and food storage. Five casualties were recorded in this attack and survivors have reported that many of the community’s Christian members remained hidden hours after the attack ended, as they feared further violence. One local religious leader reported that Boko Haram militants also set fire to The Church of the Brethren in both Ghung and Sangere, as well as Living Faith Church Garkida.

Multiple other communities, including Tashan Alade, Kirbitu, and Debiro were similarly attacked on December 26th.

In recent years, Boko Haram and affiliated Islamist jihadist ogranizations have been known to coordinate attacks on or around the Christmas season. Just last year, on December 26, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) circulated an approximately one-minute video in which they kill 11 Nigerian Christians. The radical jihadists shot the first victim and subsequently slit the throats of the remaining ten Christians. In the video, one of the ISWAP members stated the following:

“This message is to the Christians of the world. Those who you see in front of us are Christians, and we will shed their blood as revenge for the two dignified sheikhs [referring to the deaths of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir by US troops in Syria in October 2019].”

Cover Photo by Louis Kreusel on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)