***UPDATE: Boko Haram claims responsibility for attacks***
Via CBS News:
A statement attributed to a radical Islamist sect in Nigeria known as Boko Haram says the group launched attacks that left at least 58 dead including two lawmakers in a region violently divided by religion.
The statement obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press said the group was responsible for the attacks in Plateau state where authorities say hundreds of assailants stormed into about a dozen villages Saturday. It said the group would continue to attack government officials and Christians. It said Christians “will not know peace again” if they do not accept Islam.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. —Matthew 5:10-12
ALL AFRICA – It was gathered that while the mass burial was going on, some unknown gunmen struck and open fire on the mourners while security personnel at the venue returned the fire and were said to have killed about 16 of the attackers and apprehended one of them.
The death toll in the gunmen’s attack has risen to 114, as 63 were given mass burial while 50 other people were burnt at the village.
The gunmen invaded Maseh during the mass burial of 63 victims of Saturday’s attack in Karkuruk in Barkin Ladi.
No fewer than 50 people were yesterday discovered burnt in the house of a pastor of the Church of Christ in Nigeria in Matse village.
Special adviser on security to Governor Jonah Jang, Mr. Istifanus Gyang, confirmed the incident.
It was further gathered that the victims, mostly women, children and the aged, had run into the church for safety when they heard of the Saturday morning massacre in neighbouring Barakin Ladi LGA.
The attackers were said to have got wind of the presence of the victims in the church and surrounded the church and then set it ablaze with the victims trapped inside.
The gunmen were also said to have ensured that nobody escaped as they stood by to shoot anybody that tried to escape.
According to the Christian Monitor, these gunmen attackers were Muslim herdsmen and the escalation of violence and reprisal attacks has been fueled by Boko Haram:
Clashes between Muslim herdsmen and Christian villagers are common, but the Boko Haram insurgency and political interference have fueled the conflict to dangerous levels.
While there appears to be no direct connection between these acts of violence and the Boko Haram insurgency, a radical Islamist rebellion to overthrow Nigeria’s government across the mainly Muslim north, there is no question that the rising death toll from that insurgency has fueled tensions between Muslim and Christian communities in the north. More than 1,000 people have been killed in Boko Haram attacks since the rebellion began in 2009.
Now, the violence is building its own momentum, unconnected to Boko Haram, and it is getting increasingly difficult to tell which community is the assailant and which one is the victim.
(h/t: Weasel Zippers)