Boko Haram militants kill more than 200 people in a week after surge in violence

Bloodshed is said to be increasing due to an Isis directive to intensify violence during the holy month of Ramadan.

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The Independent Online

Hundreds of people have been killed by militant Islamists in the past week after a surge of violence in the region.

Three bombs in Nigeria killed at least 20 people yesterday. The explosions took place at an evangelical church, a crowded mosque, and an elite Muslim restaurant in the central city of Jos.

Witnesses reported that crowds had been gathering at Yantaya Mosque to hear a speech by leading cleric Sani Yahaya who advocates peaceful co-existence of all religions when the blast happened. It has yet to be ascertained how many fatalities there were.

At least 15 people were killed in an explosion at Shagalinku, a restaurant frequented by elite politicians.

A third blast occurred when a female suicide bomber self-detonated at the Redeemed Church of God in northeast Nigeria during a church service, killing at least five people.

Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, they have been linked to Boko Haram who have carried out many similar acts in similar areas.

More than 200 people have been killed by Boko Haram in the last week. Nearly 100 men and boys were gunned down as they prayed in a mosque on Wednesday. It has been claimed that bloodshed is increasing due to an Isis directive to intensify violence during the holy month of Ramadan.

Speaking on Friday, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari called the latest wave of violence a “heinous atrocity.”

The militant Islamist group is based in northeastern Nigeria and was founded in 2002.  In March, Boko Haram swore allegiance to Isis in an audio statement posted on the group’s Twitter page.

Thousands have been killed and about 1.5 million displaced during Boko Haram's six-year-old insurgency to carve out a state adhering to strict Islamic law in Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy and top oil producer. At the start of the year, it controlled a swathe of territory larger than Belgium in the northeast of the country.

Boko Haram has since been pushed back with the help of offensives launched by troops from Chad and Niger while Cameroon has fought them off along its borders.

Additional reporting: AP