Nigerian churches hire security after ISIS church attack

Houses of worship in Nigeria have been hiring security personnel in the past few weeks following a terrorist attack on a Catholic Church in Southwestern Nigeria by members of Islamic State West African Province. Voice of America (VOA reported Tuesday.

After the deadly attack at a Catholic Church in Nigeria on June 5, 2011,

“Nigerians have begun to implement armed security measures and increased entry checks. Security experts fear the attack in Nigeria’s southwest Ondo state means the threat of terrorism is spreading and could soon reach the capital,” VOA reported on June 28.

“Abuja police stated that they had deployed officers often to churches, mosques, and other public areas,” said the U.S.-funded broadcaster.

Unknown number of gunmen attacked St. Francis Catholic Church, Ondo State’s Ondo on June 5. On June 5, an unknown number of gunmen stormed St. Francis Catholic Church in Ondo State’s Ondo town. The terrorists shot at parishioners with AK-47 rifles and detonated an unspecified number of explosives either inside or near the church, Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper reported.

Mourners carry a coffin of one of the victims killed at the St. Francis Catholic Church on June 5, during a funeral service in Owo, Southwest of Nigeria, Friday, June 17, 2022. (Rahaman A Yusuf/AP)

“[A] total of 127 people had been affected by the attack in the church, of whom 40 had died, 61 were still in hospital and 26 had been discharged,” Reuters reported on June 9 citing remarks by Ondo State Gov. Arakunrin Akeredolu.

Nigeria’s Federal Government stated on June 9th that they suspected ISWAP members had attacked St. Francis Catholic Church.

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” We have seen the footprints of ISWAP during the horrific attack on Owo. And we will pursue them. “Our security agencies are following them and we will bring them to justice,” Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Nigerian Interior Minister told journalists in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital.

A jihadist terror group formed under the name Boko Haram has regularly perpetrated terror attacks across Nigeria since its 2009 founding in the country’s northeast. Boko Haram changed its official name to ISWAP in 2015 upon pledging allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) at the time, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Abuja claimed that a dissident offshoot of Boko Haram continued to exist after the organization renamed itself ISWAP in 2015. According to some analysts, Nigeria’s federal government claimed to have defeated this apparently fictional offshoot in a plan that it blamed for more recent terrorist attacks against ISWAP. Although Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari repeatedly claimed to have “defeated Boko Haram”, he has not yet provided any evidence to support the assertion.

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