At least 18 people were killed today in a car bomb attack on a busy market and 54 were killed last Sunday in a series of attacks on churches leaving the body count standing at over 70.

On Sunday the church buildings of the Protestant Church of Christ, the Pentecostal Deeper Life Bible Church and Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa in Chibok town were burnt down.

Chibok is the town in the north-east state of Borno from which more than 200 girls were abducted in April. Officials say 219 girls remain captive.

Recent reports have linked Boko Haram to al-Qaeda, and some analysts believe there is common cause between Boko Haram, al-Qaeda and the coalition known as ISIS in the Middle East.

Dr Adam Higazi said: 

“The level of violence in Nigeria is very high. Around four villages were attacked near where the girls were abducted on 14 April. People estimate that around 50 people were killed on Sunday. It seems the Nigerian government and the military are failing to reduce the level of violence despite the presence of military advisers from foreign counties. There is a lot of disenchantment amongst the local population in northern Nigeria.

“Christians are one of the explicit targets of Boko Haram. On Sunday churches were attacked and people were killed while they were worshipping. However Muslims are also being targeted because there is a lot of opposition to Boko Haram from the Muslim community.

“Boko Haram has taken on some ideas that most Muslims consider to be not Islamic. The established Muslim clerics are very much against what they are doing. Boko Haram has departed from the ideas held by other groups; even al-Qaeda have distanced themselves from the group.

“The problem is of governance and high level corruption which has been ongoing for decades. There is a popular anger that has been growing towards politicians and government. The government has created part of the difficulties for people that have made people more likely to want to join these groups. At the same time there are people not joining the groups and are the ones suffering.”

Boko Haram were founded in 2002 and initially focused on opposing western education - Boko Haram means "western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language. They launched military operations in 2009 to create an Islamic state and have killed thousands.

(VoR)