MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – Dozens of armed men attacked the church, dragging the pastor out of his home and shooting him to death. Two young men rehearsing for a late-night carol service also were slain.
The group of about 30 attackers armed with guns and knives even killed two people passing by Victory Baptist Church. The assailants only left after setting the church and pastor’s house ablaze.
Danjuma Akawu, the church’s secretary, managed to escape after he and others climbed over the church’s fence. “I cannot understand these attacks,” he said. “Why Christians? Why Christians? The police have failed to protect us.”
At the opposite end of the city, the Rev. Haskanda Jessu said three men attacked the Church of Christ in Nigeria an hour later, killing a 60-year-old security guard.
At least 38 people died in Christmas Eve attacks across Nigeria, including the six killed at churches in the country’s north by suspected members of a radical Muslim sect known as Boko Haram. In central Nigeria, 32 died in a series of bomb blasts in the worst violence to hit the region in months.
Authorities have not identified suspects following the Christmas Eve explosions in Jos, and it was not immediately clear if those attacks had a religious motive. Two of the bombs went off near a large market where people were doing last-minute Christmas shopping. A third hit a mainly Christian area of Jos, while the fourth was near a road leading to a mosque.
Police have not said whether they believe the bombings were related to the church attacks. The two areas are about 320 miles apart.