Expectedly, President Goodluck Jonathan has “received with dismay and consternation reports of yesterday’s attacks by Boko Haram on churches in villages near Chibok, Borno State.”
That is the message in a statement released on Monday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati.
Suspected Boko Haram Islamists attacked a series of churches on Sunday near Chibok, the northeast Nigeria town where more than 200 teenage girls were kidnapped in April, with more than 50 people killed.
Residents said the gunmen riding on motorcycles opened fire on worshippers and pursued them as they tried to flee into the surrounding bush.
The attackers hurled explosives into churches as services were ongoing and torched several buildings, witnessed further reported.
“The attackers went to churches with bombs and guns,” Timothy James, a Chibok resident said by phone, explaining that the villages were within 10 kilometres (six miles) of Chibok.
“From what I gathered, dozens of worshippers, including men, women and children were killed,” he said.
The President, Abati’s message reads “deplores the renewed targeting by Boko Haram of adherents of a particular religion and urges all lovers of peace and unity to wholly condemn the resurgence of efforts by agents of global terrorism to disunite and destabilize Nigeria by callously instigating violence among religious groups in the country.
“President Jonathan shares the view of the most learned Islamic leaders and scholars that no true Muslim will resort to the mindless killing of innocent people at any time, especially not during the holy month of Ramadan, to redress any perceived grievance.
“The President believes, therefore, that Sunday’s attacks on churches and other similar atrocities by Boko Haram are conclusive proof, if any is still needed, that its leaders and members are thoroughly misguided persons who are only using religion as a cover for their reprehensible crimes against their countrymen and women.
“President Jonathan urges all Nigerians, irrespective of their religious beliefs, to resist this new attempt to undermine the nation’s firm and collective resolve to unite in full support of its armed forces and security agencies against the vicious perpetrators of brutal attacks on innocent citizens.
“The President assures all Nigerians once again that the Federal Government and national security agencies will continue to intensify ongoing efforts to end Boko Haram’s senseless attacks until the terrorists are routed and totally defeated.
“He commiserates with the families and churches that lost loved ones, members and places of worship during Sunday’s attacks.”