Terrorists killed at least 14 Christian worshipers and wounded 12 others attending midnight services on New Year’s Eve after gunmen executed coordinated attacks at two Nigerian churches.
Nigerian media reported the 26 casualties based on statements from a police source who asked to remain anonymous, and official sources have declined to release the number of casualties, The Guardian reported Tuesday. Other reports indicate that as many as 16 people were killed, and police have announced a manhunt for the shooters, who have not yet been captured. The 12 who survived the attack remain in critical condition in a local hospital.
“I can confirm the incident but at the moment we cannot confirm the number of casualties,” police representative Nnamdi Omoni told the Nigerian Independent. “The Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operation and other tactical heads have been mobilised there to restore peace. The Commissioner of Police (Ahmed Zaki) has launched a manhunt for the bandits to ensure they are arrested and prosecuted. When the DCP and the teams there conclude we will know the total number of people involved.”
The attack was one of several terror incidents aimed at Christians in Nigeria throughout 2017. Nigerian terrorists kidnapped two Christian priests in 2017, Jesuit Father Samuel Okwuidegbe on the outskirts of Benin April 18, and Catholic Father Maurizio Pallù in early October.
While the region is predominantly Christian, government corruption, armed gangs, and violent crime are rampant in the area, according to Crux. Some Italian newspapers speculated that Boko Haram kidnapped Pallù, although the Islamic militants are more prevalent to the north.
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