Boko Haram attack on St Theresa Catholic Church, Abuja
By Sunday Okobi
Gunmen Thursday attacked a church in Gombe State, during a prayer service night, killing at least three people and wounding others in an assault, which occurred amid the increasingly violent campaign by Boko Haram.
The attack on the church however came on the heels of reports by the Joint Task Force (JTF) in charge of security operation in Borno State, that it had shot two suspected killers, who were trying to evade arrest in Dala, Maiduguri.
The Associated Press (AP) reported that Pastor Johnson Jauro, while reacting to the attack, said the gunfire sprayed at the Deeper Life Bible Church (DLBC) in Gombe, injured several worshippers and killed his wife and two others.
He spoke at a local hospital, where a joint team of soldiers and police officers stood guard. Local police spokesman, Ahmed Muhammad, confirmed the attack, but declined to say how many people the gunmen killed and wounded. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Meanwhile, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that JTF’s Spokesman, Lt. Col. Hassan Ifijeh, told journalists in Maiduguri, that the suspects had gun down two members of a household before attempting to escape.
“The two gunmen, suspected to be Boko Haram members, had between 8p.m. and 8.30 p.m. attacked civilians on Wednesday in Dala, Maiduguri. The gunmen killed two persons before an alarm was raised by residents who alerted members of the JTF,” he said.
He said JTF operatives later cordoned off the area in search of the attackers. Ifijeh said JTF operatives succeeded in getting at them early on Thursday, but that they tried to evade arrest, leading to some fire exchange, which resulted in both of them being killed, stressing that their remains had been deposited at the mortuary.
Some relatives identified those killed by the assailants as Mr Musa Durkuwa, an 80-year-old retired civil servant, who was shot along with his 40-year-old son, Usman Durkuwa.
The junior Durkuwa was a teacher at the Himma School, Maiduguri. Ifijeh said the killers invaded the residence of Durkuwa in the evening and shot him on the chest, before shooting his son.
Mr. Ibrahim Marama, a brother to the deceased, told journalists that Durkuwa’s wife was also shot on the leg and hand, and had been rushed to the hospital for medical treatment. He commended the JTF operatives for their efforts in getting the suspected killers.