The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has disclosed that the Boko Haram insurgents has changed their strategy, saying that they now aim at Christians and their villages in order to trigger religious war in the country.
The minister, who made the disclosure during a press conference in Abuja, said that the insurgents have now realized how divisive religion could be, when exploited by unscrupulous persons.
He said: “Recall that Boko Haram insurgents didn’t use to discriminate between Christians and Muslims when they carried out their attacks in the past. Churches and mosques, Christians and Muslims were attacked without discrimination.
“When they targeted motor parks, the religion, gender, ethnicity or political leaning of the victims didn’t matter, as long as they inflicted the maximum damage to lives and property.
“But in the wake of a renewed onslaught by our tireless military against Boko Haram and their ISWAP allies in recent times, the insurgents have apparently changed their strategy:
“They have started targeting Christians and Christian villages for a specific reason, which is to trigger a religious war and throw the nation into chaos. Apparently, they have realized how emotive and divisive religion can be, when exploited by unscrupulous persons,” the minister said.
“Lest I am misunderstood, let me repeat: the insurgents, who delude themselves as Muslims whereas they are nothing more than blood-thirsty, rapacious killers who subscribe to no religion, have recently started targeting Christians with a view to sowing the seed of confusion between the two great religions.
“This did not in any way signify that they have stopped attacking Muslims. But they seem to now have a deliberate policy of attacking Christians.
“The attack on a Christian village, Kwarangulum, near Chibok; the killing of the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika local government in Adamawa, Lawan Andimi; the killing of Ropvil Daciya Dalep, a student who was also a member of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN); and the killing of 11 Christians on Christmas eve, etc, fit into this new strategy
“Some have misinterpreted this to insinuate a systematic campaign to persecute Christians in Nigeria. This is absurd, and very unfair to the men and women who are daily battling the insurgents.
“The truth is that, having run out of options in their battle against Nigeria, the insurgents are desperate to stay relevant, to stay in the news, hence their cowardly and senseless strategy targeting Christians, as part of their increasing resort to the use of Guerilla tactics.
The minister, therefore, called on religious leaders, both Christians and Muslims, not to fall for the insurgents’ new strategy, saying that the insurgents must not be allowed to divide the people.
“In addition, we must also give our unalloyed support to the military, which has also upped the ante against the insurgents.
“The resort to the increasing use of Guerilla tactics by the insurgents is a sign of weakness on their part.
“Contrary to the belief in certain quarters, these insurgents are getting weaker by the day, thanks to the gallantry of our men and women in uniform,” Mr Mohammed added.