Christians killed in Christmas bloodshed in Nigeria
Christmas Eve attacks by suspected Islamic extremists in northern Nigeria's Borno state - already reeling from the slaughter of at least 10 Christians earlier this month - took the lives of six people at a Baptist church, as gunmen killed six others in Yobe state the same night.
According to Morning Star News, in Borno state, where Islamic extremist group Boko Haram is based, six Christians were slain at First Baptist Church in Maiduguri on Christmas Eve.
About 160 kilometers (100 miles) away in Kupwal village in Chibok Local Government Area, suspected jihadists shouting "Allahu Akbar [God is greater]" on December 1 slit the throats of at least 10 people in carefully selected Christian homes, according to reports from survivors.
In Yobe state on Christmas Eve, gunmen believed to be members of Boko Haram reportedly entered the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Peri, near Potiskum, and killed six Christians including a pastor before setting the church building ablaze. Several others were reported seriously wounded.
"No group has claimed responsibility for the Christmas Eve attacks, but Boko Haram mounted Christmas assaults on Christians last year and in 2010," said the Morning Star News Nigeria correspondent.
Boko Haram has expressed its intention to eradicate Christians from northern Nigeria and impose a strict version of Sharia law.
Attacks on Christians in Yobe state have forced thousands of Christians to flee to others parts of Nigeria, while others have become refugees in Cameroon, the newspaper reports.
It adds that in Jaji, in northern Nigeria's Kaduna state, 11 Christians were killed in a suicide attack on a church on November 25. The Reverend Titus Sambo and Israel Olaleye, students at Baptist Theological Seminary in Kaduna, died in the dual bomb blasts at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, a military barracks church serving military personnel, their families and civilians in Jaji, about 25 miles from Kaduna City. At least 30 people were reported injured.
The bombers were suspected members of Boko Haram group, also suspected of bombing a Kaduna church on Oct. 28, killing seven Christians.
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria's population of 158.2 million and live mainly in the south, while Muslims account for 45 percent and live mainly in the north. But those practicing indigenous religions may be as high as 10 percent of the total population, according to Operation World, so the percentages of Christians and Muslims may be less.