Islamist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attack on a predominantly Christian village in northeastern Nigeria. Result: a church was burned, eleven people were killed, and a priest was kidnapped.
Riding motorcycles or driving pick-ups, the jihadists stormed the village of Pemi (in northeastern Nigeria), firing “indiscriminately” and setting fire to buildings, according to Sani Mohammed, responsible for a local defense militia.
And the latter specifies that, “the terrorists killed seven people, burned ten houses, and looted food stores which were to be distributed for the celebration of Christmas.”
Later, four other bodies were found in the surrounding thickets by volunteers, bringing the toll—still provisional—to eleven victims.
A toll that may be heavier, because residents fled into the bush during the attack and some have not yet been seen.
According to the local defense militia, the attackers came from the nearby Sambisa forest, a refuge for the jihadists. They stole medicine from a hospital before setting it on fire, and torched a church after kidnapping the priest who was about to celebrate the holy mysteries of Christmas.
It was in this region of northeastern Nigeria that Boko Haram was born, the founder of which, Mohamed Yusuf, was gunned down by police in July 2009. Abubakar Shekau, who succeeded him, militarized the movement. In 2015, the Salvationist sect pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) organization.
Since then, Boko Haram has been active throughout the Lake Chad basin, sowing terror in this area on the borders of Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.
If the abuses of its dissident branch Islamic State in West Africa (Iswap) are included, jihadist groups have been responsible for the deaths of more than 36,000 people over the past ten years.