“I can’t dismiss the rumor, and I can’t 100 percent accept that it will happen. But because of the trend of events, there is every possibility that something like that will happen,” Rev. Lawi P. Pokti, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, told ICC.
ICC’s Jonathan Racho explained that this is all part of the group’s plan.
“They had a parliamentary meeting, and in that meeting they decided to step up their attacks against the government, against Christians and to finally establish their Islamic state,” Racho said. “We don’t know why they chose this particular time, but it looks like they want to step up their efforts to overthrow the Nigerian government.”
He noted that Boko Haram has also set its sights on the south.
“Boko Haram is using another strategy to kill Christians in the south,” he said. “They want to poison food that is grown and produced by Christians in the south. They’re trying to do that in a systematic way. So they’re using all different ways to establish an Islamic state and oppose the Nigerian government.”
The Heritage Foundation’s Africa analyst, Morgan Roach, said the report, if confirmed, shows the group has its sights set on the government.
“Boko Haram is obviously trying to intimidate the Nigerian government and the Nigerian people,” he said. “There are also reports that the group has the support of some of the northern politicians.”
The new round of anti-Christian assaults comes only days after a series of street shootouts in Kaduna province killed 100 civilians and a continued string of church bombings killed at least 50 people.
Western analysts have cautioned against ignoring the threat to the government posed by the Islamic group. Racho said it would be a mistake to underestimate them because of Boko Haram’s organization.
“They have a parliament, they hold meetings and they make decisions,” he said. “From all indications, it looks like Boko Haram is a very sophisticated organization. It’s very organized, and they do what they say they’re going to do.”
Racho warned that the Islamic group is also well-connected.
“The 300 suicide bombers are trained in how to handle military weapons and explosives,” he explained. “They took their training in places like Somalia and Mauritania. It has an international network, and it’s also a part of al-Qaida.”