John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Christmas Violence in Nigeria

by John Campbell
January 4, 2013

A girl kneels near the graves of victims of a suicide bomb attack at St. Theresa's Church in Madalla, on the outskirts of Nigeria's capital Abuja 24/12/2012. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)


Boko Haram-associated violence appears to spike around the major Christian holidays, especially Christmas. The Nigeria Security Tracker (NST) documents this trend in 2011. This year, according to the Nigerian press, the security presence was beefed-up in the North and holiday leaves were cancelled. This may have had a positive impact, as no large-scale terrorist incidents were reported.

Nevertheless, the media reports numerous small scale attacks, especially in Borno and Yobe states. For example, the press reports two suicide bomber attacks in Kano, but with few casualties. A pastor and five members of his congregation were murdered on Christmas Eve, and alleged Boko Haram operatives slit the throats of some fifteen men, women, and children in a settlement outside of Maiduguri on December 29. Though details are scarce, these killings may have been of Christians. Ansaru, possibly a Boko Haram splinter group, killed two Nigerian security officers and kidnaped a French engineer the week before Christmas.

Altogether, the media reported at least sixty deaths related to Boko Haram during the period from December 20 through New Year’s Day. Almost certainly the actual number of deaths was higher because the media and the federal government usually undercount casualties. That said, Christmas 2012 was less bloody than Christmas 2011 or 2010.

Post a Comment 2 Comments

  • Posted by Sulayman

    But the Emergency Management Agency has confirmed a false reports on the aledge Christmas killings in Borno state and that the reports lacks evidence to wer the killing took place.

  • Posted by

    Africa in Transition » Christmas Violence in Nigeria

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