|The Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram has been bombing churches and killing hundreds of Christians.|
Islamic Terrorism - 253 people killed in one month in Nigeria by suicide bombers and thug gunmen
The radical Islamist group, based in northern Nigeria, once specialized in robbing banks and attacking defenseless Christian congregations. In the past month, however, its gunmen or suicide bombers have struck 21 times, killing at least 253 people.
The Daily Telegraph says this transformation has come about partly because of the help Boko Haram has received from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a branch of the international terrorist network based in the Saharan states of Mali, Niger and Algeria.
Boko Haram demonstrated its new potency on Jan 20, when at least 100 of the movement's fighters executed eight assaults in Nigeria's northern city of Kano, overwhelming the security forces and killing 185 people.
This operation bore all the hallmarks of al-Qaeda: a mixture of suicide bombers and gunmen, some in police or army uniform, carried out multiple, carefully coordinated attacks on hard targets.
Nigeria 'failing' in fight against Boko Haram
Boko Haram destroyed two police stations and the regional police headquarters, and damaged the local office of the State Security Service, Nigeria's version of MI5. Boko Haram has kept up the momentum, launching night raids on two more police stations in Kano.
"Suicide bombing was, until recently, something we saw in the movies," said Chinedu Nwagu, a security analyst from the Cleen Foundation, which monitors Nigeria's justice system.
"People never thought that anybody here would do that."
Church bombings. A series of bomb attacks in Nigeria, including two on 2011 Christmas Day church services, have left almost 40 people dead and many injured. The Boko Haram carried out the attacks, including one on St Theresa's Church in Madalla, near the capital Abuja, that killed 35. (BBC News)
Nigerian Death Toll Rises
Once, Boko Haram would steer clear of the security forces and strike largely undefended targets. Today, its fighters frequently outclass and outgun their opponents. "Their weapons and tactics are clearly superior to those used by the Nigerian police," said Yahaya Ibrahim Shinko, a retired Nigerian army officer and security analyst.
|Murdering thug Boko Haram Terrorists.|