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Nigerian Pastor Frees Muslim Prisoners for Ramadan, But Bombings Continue

(UPDATED) Goodwill gesture in Kaduna overshadowed as dozens die in Christian neighborhood of Kano.

Update (July 31): Christian leaders in Kano are claiming three churches were targeted by the bombs during evening worship services, reports Morning Star News. They estimate the death toll at 45 people, largely from one Pentecostal church and nearby Christian businesses.

World Watch Monitor also offers more details.


News of Nigeria's latest Boko Haram bombing mars an intriguing gesture of peace by a Nigerian pastor who enabled Muslim prisoners to spend Ramadan in their homes.

Yohanna Buro of Kano's Christ Evangelical and Intercessory Fellowship Ministries worked with volunteers to secure the release of 30 Muslim men and women, jailed for failure to pay fines, according to Deutsche Welle. Buro, who wants to further cooperation in the religiously divided nation, paid the fines and travel expenses for the prisoners to return home for the Islamic holy month.

"I have sought the release of my Muslim brothers, so they can fast and pray to God that peace will prevail in our country," he told Deutsche Welle.

Buro was recognized with an award organized by the Muslim Media Organization for his work.

However, Buro's positive actions toward peace were offset by bombings in a popular Christian neighborhood of Kano. The violence, widely attributed to Boko Haram extremists, killed 24 according to a hospital official speaking with USA Today. The neighborhood, Sabon Gari, houses many bars and recreational venues.

Though a Christian church was among the apparent targets, the incident is believed to be part of Boko Haram's larger campaign against "security forces, Muslim clerics and various symbols of authority," according to Agence France-Presse. The Muslim-majority city is "anxious about possible reprisals" as conflict between Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north and Christian south continues, according to the BBC.

CT reported when Boko Haram targeted the Sabon Gari neighborhood in March, killing dozens of people at a bus station and adding to previous attacks on an elite military church and at Mubi Polytechnic University. Even more recently, CT noted the Nigerian government's report that Boko Haram has killed even more Muslims than Christians in a campaign of violence that has combined civil conflict with high rates of Christian persecution.

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