A source with knowledge of the Boko Haram Muslim terror attacks on Christians in Nigeria says the violence is being stepped up now because it is Easter week.
In the latest attack in northeast Nigeria, Boko Haram, a group that seeks to establish Islamic law in Nigeria, reportedly kidnapped 200 girls from a school in the Borno state town of Chibok. There is no word if any of the students have been killed.
The kidnapping followed a Tuesday night attack on the Borno state village of Sabun Kasuwa, where the police chief was killed and other casualties were reported.
The nighttime raid of the village followed just one day after the jihadist group set off bombs in two Abuja region bus stations, killing a total of 70 people.
The bus station attacks follow a string of weekend attacks in the northeast which resulted in a three-day casualty count of approximately 270 people.
Emmanuel Ogebe, a managing partner in the U.S.-Nigeria Law Group, said the stepped-up pace is intentional, because Easter is an important holiday in Nigeria, and the attacks are both symbolic and tactical.
“A local partner in Nigeria contacted me that there was a bomb blast around the nation’s capital and over 100 people are feared killed,” he said. “Easter is a huge holiday in Nigeria and a five-day holiday weekend. As with D.C., Abuja is emptying out as people travel to their home states for the long holiday. The targeting of bus stations the week of Easter was therefore quite systematic.”
He said human rights workers are petitioning Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan for help in stopping Boko Haram.
Brent McBurney, the CEO of Advocates International, a coalition of Christian lawyers, agreed that the death and mayhem is meant to disrupt Easter celebrations.
“I am quite certain that the timing of the latest bombing is not far from Mr. Ogebe’s assessment of the situation. Unfortunately, Boko Haram rebels are so intent on their overall campaign, that I fear they will continue apace, regardless of the Christian holidays,” McBurney said.
McBurney believes the fight must be taken directly to the jihadists.
“This is a battle that needs to be fought at every level, spiritually through prayer and fasting, physically, with assistance from the Nigerian government, as well as legally in any way possible,” McBurney said.
Center for Security Policy Vice President Clare Lopez says Boko Haram’s attacks often target holy days for Christians.
“Christian, Jewish, and other denominational holy days, along with commemorations of particular dates from history, have always been important to Islamic jihadists,” Lopez said.
Ogebe said he believes the reason that Boko Haram is operating with impunity is because Western governments are refusing to acknowledge the attacks are motivated by Islam.
Ogebe told WND: “I said in my congressional testimony that U.S. dissimulation on Boko Haram has empowered the terrorists and endangered the U.S.”
Ogebe gives his assessment based on a recent message from the U.S. Embassy in Abuja. The travel notice speaks of Boko Haram’s atrocities. Ogebe says the message noticeably neglects to attach the terrorist or Islamic label to the actions.
The embassy message said:
The loosely organized group of factions known as Boko Haram continues to carry out significant improvised explosive device and suicide bombings in northern Nigeria, mainly targeting government forces and innocent civilians. Boko Haram and splinter group Ansaru have also claimed responsibility for the kidnappings of several Western workers and tourists, both in northern Nigeria and northern Cameroon.
Boko Haram is known to descend on whole towns, robbing banks and businesses, attacking police and military installations, and setting fire to private homes. In 2013, extremists have also targeted both Nigerians and foreign nationals involved in polio eradication efforts in northern Nigeria.
Extremists attacked a school in northeast Nigeria, killing over 40 students, and have called for further attacks on educational institutions.
The State Department has not responded to WND’s requests for comment on the embassy bulletin or this story.
Lopez said Boko Haram is likely emboldened to continue its war against Christians in Nigeria for another reason. She says the United States’ weakness in dealing with Islamic terrorism is what encourages Boko Haram and other jihadist groups.
“They know we’re not serious about calling this Islamic terror, jihad, and going after it like we mean it, not just in Nigeria, but anywhere jihad is in progress. Their attitude toward us in the U.S. and West in general is one of contempt and scorn; they could care less whether we give lip service to fighting man-caused disasters wherever we may find them,” Lopez said.
It was only a few months ago that the U.S. finally labeled Boko Haram as a terror group.
“That said, I don’t actually believe most jihadist organizations like BH really care one way or another what we here in the U.S. do or don’t do so long as we’re not dedicating assets to going after them,” Lopez said.
“Islamic terror organizations like BH have an agenda, which is jihad. They will not be swayed or influenced whatsoever by mere gestures, statements, or listings. Only if hard military campaigns go after them, like the French did in Mali, will they sit up and take notice,” she said.