- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Radical Islamists in Nigeria have upped their fight for power in recent weeks, expanding their attacks on government forces to local citizens — one of the latest involving a Christian pastor who refused to renounce his faith.

In response, Boko Haram militants slit his throat, The Blaze reported.

The Nigerian newspaper The Daily Post reported that terrorists launched a coordinated attack a couple weeks ago on churches in several communities, ultimately killing the Rev. Jacob Kwiza of the Church of Christ while he picked mangoes in Hwa’a.

A witness told The Post: “As the gunmen threw some explosives at our church, they forced the retired Reverend to renounced Christianity and be converted to Islam, but Rev. Jacob defied the gunmen’s threats of being killed, as he insisted on being a Christian among his people on the hills of Hwa’a. They slit his throat with sharp objects and we started to flee for safety, as we don’t know the next target of these gunmen.”

The militant group is also to blame for a couple of daytime mass shootings at schools. The first incident occurred two weeks ago at Ansarudeen Private School after militants found students in the middle of taking unauthorized exams, The Associated Press reported. The terrorists killed nine and sent six to the hospital with gunshot injuries, a local doctor said. A couple hours later, militants attacked the Government Secondary School, killing seven seniors and two teachers. Two of the militants also were killed after a shootout with law enforcement that lasted five hours.

The government has declared a state of emergency in roughly 60,000 square miles of the nation. And civilians are being warned to be on the watch.

“Today, there are no boundaries and they are targeting the civilian population in a way that shows Nigeria is at a dangerous turning point,” said Comfort Ero, a program director for the International Crisis Group, in The Blaze.

The World Policy Institute reported that Boko Haram is funded in part by bank robberies and by contributions from al Qaeda groups in Africa.