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ISLAMIC MILITANT GROUP SEEKS TO IMPOSE SHARIA LAW
by Sharon Rondeau
A second report states that 35 lost their lives in a single attack, and the Daily Mail Online has reported 40 deaths. There was a shortage of ambulances, and the country’s military was summoned to the scene at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, near the nation’s capital of Abuja.
The Islamic group Boko Haram, which seeks to institute Sharia law throughout Nigeria, claimed responsibility for the attacks and has murdered more than 450 people, and possibly more than 500, earlier this year.
Some are blaming failed leadership or a “weak central government” for the attacks. Nigeria’s Christian president, Goodluck Jonathan, took office in February 2010 after the previous president became too ill to maintain the position. On Sunday Jonathan described the attacks as “a dastardly act that must attract the rebuke of all peace-loving Nigerians.”
One reporter described the attacks as evidence of “historic internal religious and regional divides that have often threatened the integrity of Africa’s most populous state.”
One victim was heard to say, “Father, pray for me, I will not survive” as he lay dying on the steps of St. Theresa’s Church.
Boko Haram was formed in 2003, and the translation of its name is “Western education is sinful.” It is concentrated mainly in Nigeria’s northern region but has carried out attacks throughout “northern and central” Nigeria, reportedly “drawing inspiration from the Afghan Taliban.” Some members reside in other African nations such as Cameroon, Niger and Chad. The organization’s attacks have reportedly become more complex recently and may have ties to Al Qaeda.
As of 7:00 p.m. ET, The New York Times reported that two people have been arrested in connection with the Christmas Day bombings.