On Sunday, Boko Haram militants attacked four churches in Borno, Nigeria, killing more than thirty people and burning down churches. These are only the latest in an escalating series of attacks by the terrorist group. Just last week, its members attacked a Nigerian military compound and killed more than fifty soldiers. The increasingly well-armed Boko Haram militants had the upper hand in terms of firepower, reports The New York Times:
Survivors said the militants arrived in armored personnel carriers mounted with antiaircraft guns and were armed with rocket launchers and submachine guns much heavier than the soldiers’ AK-47 assault rifles. The insurgents abducted many soldiers who remain missing, they said.
Sunday’s church attacks are getting special attention because they took place in a town just miles from where more than 200 girls were kidnapped, setting off a media firestorm.Boko Haram is notorious, among many other violent acts, for a signature tactic: asking victims to recite Koranic verses from memory and killing those who cannot. The choice of churches as a place of attack further escalates and highlights the religious nature of the conflict. Given the historical intractability of ethnic and religious conflicts in demographically heterogeneous areas, expect to see Africa’s God Wars get worse in the near term.