A band of armed jihadists stormed the Lion of Judah Christian church in Azikoro, southern Nigeria, last week, shooting four of the faithful dead.
During their raid, the Islamists vandalized church property and also torched an automobile and a nearby building, according to a statement by state police spokesman Asinim Butswat.
Mr. Butswat said that police currently believe that the attack may have been an act of retaliation for pressure on the Islamists by “Operation Puff Adder,” a special task force launched in 2019 to combat violent crimes in the country, especially banditry and kidnapping.
“The agents of operation Puff Adder had previously traced the radicals to their hideouts in the bush, dislodging them and burning their camp,” he said in the statement. “It is believed to be a retaliatory attack by the presumed sectarians.”
“In the meantime, two suspects have been arrested and are cooperating with the police in the investigation,” he said.
Butswat said that the State Police Commissioner of Bayesla, Mike Okoli, had visited the scene, reassuring community members of police protection and ordering a full investigation into the attack.
Three weeks ago, two thieves were shot dead in a church in South Africa. The men had held up the congregation who were present for services but were foiled in the attempted robbery by one of the faithful, Pieter van der Westhuizen, who was also armed and gunned the men down.