15 April 2013, Warri — FEAR of a religious war loomed large at the weekend, in Nigeria, following the threat by Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, to commence the assassination of Muslim clerics, bombing of mosques, hajj camps and Islamic institutions as from May 31.
The exercise, codenamed, Operation Barborossa, according to spokesman of the militant group, Jomo Gbomo, is to save Christianity in Nigeria from total destruction.
MEND’s threat is obviously in response to the bombing of Christians and Christian worship places by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.It said: “On behalf of the hapless Christian population in Nigeria, MEND will, from Friday, May 31, 2013, embark on a crusade to save Christianity in Nigeria from annihilation.
“The bombing of mosques, hajj camps, Islamic institutions, large congregations in Islamic events and assassination of clerics that propagate doctrines of hate, will form the core mission of this crusade code named Operation Barbarossa.
“This campaign will not in any way interfere with the ongoing “Hurricane Exodus,” which on Saturday, April 13, 2013, at 1am, swept through the Ewellesuo community, in Nembe, Bayelsa State, leaving the destruction of well 62, belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company in its wake.
“We may only consider a ceasefire of Operation Barbarossa if the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, the Catholic Church and Henry Okah, one of the few leaders in the Niger Delta region we respect for his integrity, intervenes.
“Also, the assurance for a cessation of hostilities targeted at Christians in their places of worship, made privately or publicly by the real Boko Haram leadership will make us call off this crusade.
“We have no problem with their attacks on security agencies including the prisons, for their role in extrajudicial killings, torture, deceit and corruption.”
*Emma Amaize & Samuel Oyadongha, Vanguard