Following a series of Christmas Day church bombings in Nigeria that killed at least 25 people and that appeared to be coordinated by a group linked to Al Qaeda, there has been an outpouring of concern and no shortage of anxiety by natives of the West African country who live in the United States.
“We are deeply worried about the long-term safety of the country and we are in prayer for the victims and for the country as a whole,” said Janet Fashakin, who is president of Egbe Omo Obokun of Ijeshaland, a civic group of Nigerians who live in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
“This is not the way we are accustomed to people behaving in Nigeria and we are concerned,” she said. “We are afraid that there have been some highly negative external influences there. It’s something that concerns us.”
Fashakin said that she and other Nigerians living in the United States have been calling home to get information from relatives in an effort to determine how pervasive this threat of violence might be.
“I’m concerned because I feel like this is nothing more than a terrorist attack,” said Terrance Agbi, a recent graduate of Wesleyan University now living in New York City.
“This makes me nervous about the political stability and the religious tolerance there,” said Agbi, who is returning to Nigeria for a vacation next week. “I feel like the government should step in and do more to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.”
The worst bombing was believed to have been the work of a radical Islamist group, known as Boko Haram, with suspected training links to Al Qaeda. The bombing took place at a Catholic church in a suburb of the Nigerian capital of Abuja.
At least two other churches were bombed over the Christmas weekend. In addition, there was a bombing at a police headquarters — Nigerian officials said the attack appeared to be a suicide bombing — in which three officers were killed.
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(Photo: AFOLABI SOTUNDE/Landov)
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