Christians in Nigeria are on edge following the recent insurgent attacks on churches by the Islamic group Boko Haram.
According to reports, a number of businesses closed in the city of Kaduna Thursday, and parents rushed to pick their children up from school, among rumors that protests might take place following a car bomb the day before.
Just a few weeks prior, the Islamic group Boko Haram, who is believed to be responsible for multiple acts of violence against Christians in recent months, conducted three suicide attacks on local churches and other religious facilities. As a result, nineteen people lost their lives.
Many Christians decided to stay home to worship out of fear that their church may be the next target. Reuters reported that some churches were nearly empty following the attacks.
“We are still traumatized over the attacks and have no intention to attend church service until total peace and normalcy are restored,” stated Anthonia Eke, a resident of Kano. “God understands our situation here so we have decided to pray at home. Only he can end this pain.”
However, others decided to attend services regardless of the consequences.
“They will always tell you that they would prefer to die in the house of God than dying in nightclubs or dying in the streets,” said Franklin Okoye, the president of an Abuja-based church society.
Boko Haram has been prominent in Nigeria since 2009, carrying out attacks that have resulted in approximately 1,000 deaths. While acts of violence have mainly been against Christians, reports state that the group’s ultimate goal is to see Sharia law implemented in the country.