Christians in Cameroon say they suffer persecution from the Islamist terror group Boko Haram on a near-daily basis. “Every day there are suicide bombers, there is theft of cattle, there are killings and kidnapping of people and theft of goods,” a source in Cameroon told Christian humanitarian agency Barnabas Aid.
Barnabas ran an article headlined “Cameroonian Christians suffer in almost daily Boko Haram attacks” on February 24, 2016. They reported that just last Friday, “two female suicide bombers attacked a marketplace in the village of Mémé” in Cameroon. The attack killed 21 people, three of them Christians.
After ramping up its violent jihad in 2009, Boko Haram has committed extraordinary bloodshed in an effort to establish an Islamic state. The group has killed 20,000 people, kidnapped 2,000 women and children, and displaced 2.8 million residents, according to Barnabas.
“The sheer scale of the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram has made it the deadliest jihadi group in the world, responsible for the deaths of 6,644 people in 2014 alone, according to the Global Terrorism Index,” Barnabas wrote.
Boko Haram leader Abubaker Shekau has made it clear that the Al-Qaeda associated terror group was at war with Christianity. In video posted in 2014, Shekau said the following:
“We know what is happening in this world, it is a jihad war against Christians and Christianity. It is a war against Western education, democracy and constitution… This is what I know in Quran. This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution, Allah says we should finish them when we get them.”
Faith McDonnell, Religious Freedom Programs Director at IRD, wrote in December 2012 that Boko Haram had two goals: spreading Sharia law and eliminating Christians from areas they control, starting with Northern Nigeria. She said they pursued these ends “by killing as many Christians as possible.”
“There have been so many bombings and other attacks on churches and individual Christians by Boko Haram that when families go to church they don’t know if they will come back home the same way they went, or even if they will come home at all,” McDonnell wrote.
McDonnell urged Christians to help inform the public about Boko Haram’s religiously motivated violence. She also encouraged Christians to sign onto Jubilee Campaign’s petition for the State Department to add Boko Haram to its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). The State Department finally did so on November 11, 2013, after several years of resistance by the Bush and Obama administrations.
Founded by Islamist cleric Mohammed Yusuf in Northern Nigeria in 2002, Boko Haram has been working ever since to establishing Sharia law and an Islamic state. Its name means “Western education is sin,” according to the Council on Foreign Relations.