A report has come in that gunmen in the northern Nigerian state of Yobe have shot dead at least five Christians. The pastor of the church was among the dead.
According to the BBC, based on an eye-witness account from a human rights organizer, gunmen have killed worshipers leaving a church in Peri village near Potiskum, the economic capital of Yobe. Later the church was set on fire. The attack took place late on Christmas Eve.
No group has come forward to claim responsibility. However, authorities suspect that the attack was orchestrated by the Boko Haram Islamist militant group, according to Al Jazeera.
The Jakarta Globe has reported that the pastor of the church - a branch of the Evangelical Church of West Africa - is among the dead.
State police commissioner Patrick Egbuniwe is reported by Relief Web as saying: "The gunmen broke into the home of the Igbo iron welders after they had closed from work and shot them dead. The attackers escaped and no one has been arrested for the attack."
According to the Deccan Chronicle, the attack came around the same time as the traditional Christmas message from the Vatican, delivered by Pope Benedict XVI, was issued. In the message the Pope prayed for ‘concord in Nigeria, where savage acts of terrorism continue to reap victims, particularly among Christians’.
Boko Haram is the Hausa name for the People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad, a jihadist militant organization based in the northeast of Nigeria.