Six die in Nigeria church shooting

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Six people have died after a shooting incident Thursday in a Deeper Life church located in Gombe, in the north east of Nigeria. Gombe state police spokesman Ahmed Muhammad reported that eight other individuals had also been wounded during the shootings.

The wife of the pastor of the church was amongst those killed in the attack, which happened as a prayer service was in progress. Theresa Munyok, self-identified as daughter and brother of two of those shot dead, spoke of the events which occurred. "The only thing I heard was my mommy shouting," Munyok explained. "She told me that it was gunshots and that my dad is not even breathing. She called and called and he did not wake up," she said.

No groups were reported to have claimed responsibility for the incident. It is reportedly suspected that Boko Haram, a Muslim sect, carried out the attack. On Sunday, an individual presumed to be a representative of Boko Haram gave a warning to the Christian citizens of the north of Nigeria, which is mainly Muslim, ordering them to depart from the region within three days. Boko Haram translates from Hausa to English as 'Western education is sacrilege'. The group was reportedly responsible in 2011 for over five hundred killings. The group accepted responsibility for the attack of a Catholic church near the Nigerian capital Abuja on Christmas Day, in which at least 37 people died, as well as a suicide bombing at a United Nations building in the same city, where 25 people were killed as a result.

Goodluck Jonathan, the president of Nigeria, placed various areas of the country in a state of emergency on December 31, 2011, including areas in Yobe, Plateau, Borno and Niger state. Gombe was not included amongst these states. Authorities in these areas can now arrest individuals without requiring evidence to do so. Similarly, searches can be made by authorities without requiring warrants to do so.