Relentless and brutal attacks by the military against the Boko Haram insurgents and their ally in the Islamic State in West Africa, ISWAP, have forced the terrorists to change their pattern of indiscriminate onslaught on Nigerians, focusing on Christians and churches, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said.
The minister, who stated this at a briefing in Abuja yesterday, insisted that the unceasing pounding of the terrorists and their allies by the military had forced them to lose territories they once occupied, collected taxes, installed and deposed emirs.
The minister said: "Recall that Boko Haram insurgents did not 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.
"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," Mohammed explained.