Boko Haram Assassinates Nigerian MP in Latest Attack

 @https://twitter.com/dantovrov on October 17 2011 12:20 PM

In Nigeria, a member of parliament was shot dead by militants thought to be affiliated with Islamic group Boko Haram.

Modu Bintube was killed at his home in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, on Sunday in what is probably the highest profile assassination in Nigeria since Boko Haram began a string of attacks earlier this year. The militant group has also targeted police chiefs, government officials and was reportedly behind the United Nations suicide bombing in Abuja that killed 23 people in August.

The  member [of parliament] was shot dead in front of his house on Sunday evening. We are combing the whole area in search of his killers, a military spokesman stated.

Nigerian police also think that Boko Haram was behind an explosion outside a police station in Gombe on Sunday. At least three people were killed in the blast, according to Reuters.

Boko Haram, whose name translates roughly to Western education is a sin, has been launching regular attacks in Nigeria for months. The group has been around for about two years, but the wave of violence that started this summer has been unprecedented.

The conflict stems from religious, political and economic differences between the north and south of the country.

The insurgents, who are Muslims from the north of Nigeria, are vehemently against President Goodluck Jonathan, who is a Christian and comes from the south. At first, Boko Haram said they were willing to negotiate with Jonathan, but any hopes of a peaceful resolution are dwindling.

The latest violence is part of an ongoing religious movement to make Nigeria a Muslim state under Sharia law. The election of Jonathan in April rekindled decades-old civil tensions -- immediately after his victory it was announced that 800 people were killed in the northern states.

Nigeria's presidency is supposed to switch between a Northerner and a Southerner in each election, but because Jonathan's successor, who was from the north, died in office, Jonathan technically began his second term. The election results were constitutionally sound, but people in the north felt short-changed by having a second Southern president in a row.

Jonathan ran against Muhammadu Buhari, whom people in the north viewed as an agent for social change. Many Northerners believed that the elections were stolen from them, and their perceived lack of representation has sparked the outrage that fuels Boko Haram.

This widespread dissatisfaction might be part of the reason that Boko Haram has so far been so hard to stop. Boko Haram has mostly attacked government buildings and institutions -- although civilian casualties have certainly occurred -- and people in the frustrated north are thought to be sympathetic.

The local people love us, they support us and the locals will never betray us because they believe in our cause, Boko Haram said in a statement.

On Monday, a Nigerian Christian leader named King Olutanmole Universe said that the Boko Haram are punishments from God, and that Jonathan must repent and find his way back to the church before it is too late.

“If God is angry, He expresses His displeasure in diverse ways, he said from the city of Akure. God might be expressing His displeasure in our sins through Boko Haram’s incessant bombings. Therefore, it is very pertinent for Nigerians to retrace their steps back to God, particularly the number one citizen of Nigeria [Jonathan] before the entire nation is bombed.

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