For the third Christmas in a row, Nigerian Christians have come under brutal attack. According to CNN, local police report that at least 12 people were killed Christmas Eve at two separate worship services in northern Nigeria.
Although it has not yet been determined who was behind Monday’s violence, the Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram has targeted Christians in the region for several years, killing 37 believers in a Christmas Day bombing last year at St. Theresa Catholic Church near the country’s capital, Abuja.
One of Monday’s attacks took place in Postikum in Yobe province, where six people, including the pastor, were killed during worship at the Church of Christ in Nations. The attackers then set the church on fire.
The second attack occurred in Borno state at First Baptist Church in Maiduguri, where a deacon and six church members lost their lives.
Earlier in December, Musa Asake, general secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, told WORLD his fellow Nigerian Christians would not be deterred by the threat of violence: “Nothing will stop us from worshiping our God.” (See “Christmas fear” by J.C. Derrick, Dec. 24.)
In his Christmas Day message, Pope Benedict XVI noted the troubles in Nigeria, saying that “savage acts of terrorism continue to reap victims, particularly among Christians.”