Nigeria killing by Islamist group condemned by Christian groups

(Photo: REUTERS/Joe Brock)Burnt out vehicles and scattered rubbish is all that's left of a militant camp near Maiduguri, northern Nigeria. Since last month, government troops have stepped up efforts to stamp out insurgent groups that have plagued the oil-producing country and killed thousands over the last four years. According to the military, this camp was one of several belonging to Islamist Boko Haram fighters. Olukolade said the biggest offensive yet against the group was necessary and that so far it has proven successful. Picture taken June 5, 2013.

The killing of 42 people, mostly children, at a boarding school in Nigeria has been blamed on the by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram evoking condemnation by Christian groups.

Witnesses said that members of the Islamist group doused the school in the state of Yobe with fuel and shot those trying to escape. Others were burned alive in the attack Saturday.

International Christian Concern (ICC) noted in light of the massacre that Boko Haram has especially targeted Christians in recent months.

The group has slain pastors and burned and looted churches and Christian villages.

Media reports said that at least 30 of the children who attend the school are Christians, although it is not currently known how many of them were killed.

Boko Haram, whose name loosely translates to "Western Education is Sinful" has also been targeting schools in its efforts to establish a radical Islamic State in northern Nigeria.

The attack on July 6 was the third in recent weeks, including two in Yobe, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

The CS Monitor also noted that on June 19 gunmen attacked a school in the Customs Area of Maiduguri, which is the capital of Borno state and the epicenter of the insurgency.

This attack was on a Muslim school, according to Open Doors, a group which monitors the persecution of Christians around the world.

On June 16 another school in Yobe was assaulted by suspected Boko Haram militants, who asked for Christian students by name. When security personnel interfered, the men shot randomly and killed 13 students and teachers.

Militants from Boko Haram have killed more than 1,600 civilians since 2010, according to the Associated Press.

The attacks on the schools have come as the government of President Goodluck Jonathan has attempted a crackdown on the terrorists. Though the effort was initially successful, it has not prevented from launching assaults such as the on the school in Yobe.

"The carnage in Nigeria continues," said Jerry Dykstra of Open Doors.

"The senseless slaughter of helpless school students is hard to fathom. Pray for the Lord's comfort and grace to all families affected by the latest attack. Pray that the Lord will enable the church to respond in love in the midst of these circumstances and reach out to all affected."

Nigeria is ranked No. 13 on the Open Doors 2013 World Watch List of countries where Christians face the worst persecution.

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