December 26, 2012 – New York – AJC condemned the Christmas Day attacks on two churches in northern Nigeria, which left at least 12 Christians, including the pastor of one of the churches, dead.
“The bestiality of this latest assault, regrettably, is not new, but clearly the need to protect Christians in Nigeria demands urgent action,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “No Christian in Nigeria should live in constant fear. As Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird laudably said, 'We stand with the people and the government of Nigeria, and call for those responsible to be brought to justice.’”
The Church of Christ in Nations in Peri, a village in the northern Nigerian state of Yobe, was set on fire late on Christmas Eve following a shooting attack shortly after midnight mass. Another six were killed at the First Baptist Church in Maiduguri, in Borno state.
Boko Haram, an Islamist sect that has killed hundreds in a murderous campaign against Christians in northern Nigeria, has attacked churches on Christmas Day annually since 2010, as well as many other terrorist assaults.
The group aims to install strict Shariah, or Islamic, law across Nigeria, and has vowed to keep killing Christians in the multiethnic country.
Media reports suggested that the casualties may have been lower this year, as many Christians decided to not attend church services for fear of violence.