Killing spree hits Nigerian church


The Pope has denounced attacks on Christians around the world as 'absurd'

Dozens of armed men attacked a Nigerian church on Christmas Eve, dragging the pastor out of his home and shooting him dead.

Two young men from the choir rehearsing for a late-night carol service in Maiduguri also were killed.

The group of about 30 attackers armed with guns and knives also killed two people passing by Victory Baptist Church. The assailants only left after setting the church and pastor’s house ablaze.

Danjuma Akawu, the church’s secretary, escaped after he and others climbed over the church’s fence.

“I cannot understand these attacks,” Mr Akawu said. “Why Christians? Why Christians? The police have failed to protect us.”

At the opposite end of the city, the Rev Haskanda Jessu said that three men attacked the Church of Christ in Nigeria an hour later, killing a 60-year-old security guard.

At least 38 people died in Christmas Eve attacks across Nigeria, including the six killed at churches in the country’s north by suspected members of a radical Muslim sect. In central Nigeria, 32 died in a series of bomb blasts in the worst violence to hit the region in months.

Authorities have not identified suspects following the Christmas Eve explosions in Jos. There were reports of renewed violence in the area although it was not immediately clear how many people may have been wounded or killed.

The group blamed for the church attacks – the radical Muslim sect known as Boko Haram – used to be based in Bauchi, about 75 miles from the area where the bombs went off.

Earlier, the Pope denounced attacks on Christians around the world as “absurd”.

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