ABUJA, April 14 — Nigeria’s main militant group, the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), on Sunday threatened to perpetrate attacks on Islamic institutions in the west African country from next month.
The group, in an electronic message to journalists, said its attacks will be code-named “Operation Barbarossa”, aimed at saving Christianity in Nigeria from annihilation by the Boko Haram sect, which has been attacking churches and media and security outfits since 2009.
MEND said when hostilities against Islamic institutions begin on May 31, it will target mosques, pilgrimage camps, large congregations in Islamic events and assassination of clerics that propagate doctrines of hate.
The group will make bombing one of its main means of attack, according to the statement from its spokesperson Jomo Gbomo.
A ceasefire may be considered in the future for “Operation Barbarossa”, if the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other credible Christian organizations in the country assure there is a cessation of hostilities targeted at Christians in their places of worship, made privately or publicly by the real Boko Haram leadership, the statement added.
MEND, the largest militant group in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, gained prominence in 2006 when it began to fight for total control of the Niger Delta’s oil wealth, saying local people had not gained from the riches under the ground and the region’s creeks and swamps.