Prince of Peace in search of Peace at Christmas

In Nigeria, the Christmas lyrics “Peace to the World” has failed to apply for many years

It is one peaceful Christmas celebration in a long while in Nigeria. There was no large scale eruption of violence as characteristic of previous years. Nigerian Christians freely held programs to mark the Christmas festivities without any serious breach of security in places outside of North Eastern Nigeria where the Islamist terrorist groups hold sway. Before now, there used to be gloom in every part of the country as Christmas approached for fear of attack.

There were, however, pockets of attacks in the North East as Christians gathered to herald the breaking of day for Christmas celebrations. Boko Haram jihadists have killed seven people on Christmas Eve in a raid on a Christian village near the town of Chibok in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, according to local militia and residents. Dozens of fighters driving trucks and motorcycles stormed into Kwarangulum late Tuesday, shooting fleeing residents and burning homes after looting food supplies. “They killed seven people and abducted a teenage girl in the attack,” local vigilante said, adding that a church was also burnt.

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Christmas celebrations were wrecked for two years running in Nigeria between 2011 and 2012 when Boko Haram, a radical Islamist sect, detonated bombs that killed up to 40 people and injuring dozens more. Boko Haram, which has been behind almost daily killings in northern Nigeria, claimed responsibility for several lethal bombings on December 25th, three targeting churches heaving with worshippers for Christmas services.

The deadliest strike hit St Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, a satellite town about 40 km from the capital, Abuja. In December last year Boko Haram claimed responsibility for bombings on Christmas Eve in Jos, which stoked violent clashes that subsequently killed over 80 people.

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Hours after the first attack in Madalla, a bomb rocked the Mountain of Fire and Miracles church in Jos, the ethnic and religious fault-line which divides the mainly Muslim north from the largely Christian south. Jos has endured years of outbreaks of brutal ethnic and sectarian violence. A third explosion hit a church in Gadaka, in northern Yobe state.

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