Abuja: A militant group in Nigeria`s oil-rich delta region has threatened to bomb Islamic institutions and clerics in the African country to save Christianity from annihilation.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which has been fighting in the delta creeks against oil companies it accuses of destroying the environment and leaving the region in abject poverty, said the attacks would be part of its crusade to save the defenceless Christian population from annihilation by a northern Islamic fundamentalist group, Boko Haram.
"On behalf of the hapless Christian population in Nigeria, The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), will from Friday, May 31, 2013, embark on a crusade to save Christianity in Nigeria from annihilation," MEND`s spokesman, Jomo Gbomo said.
The group said it would only consider a ceasefire if the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Catholic Church and their jailed leader Henry Okah intervened.
Okah was jailed in South Africa for bombing Nigeria`s capital and killing several people during the independence celebration in 2010.
"The bombings of mosques, hajj camps, Islamic institutions, large congregations in Islamic events and assassinations of clerics that propagate doctrines of hate, will form the core mission of this crusade code named `Operation Barbarossa`,” it said.
It said the campaign would not interfere with its earlier resumption of hostilities in the Niger Delta which has already claimed lives of 12 policemen.
MEND said it had no problems with the activities of Boko Haram targeted at security agencies.
"We have no problems with their attacks on security agencies including the prisons, for their role in extrajudicial killings, torture, deceit and corruption," the statement said.
MEND rejected an amnesty granted to Niger Delta militants by the Nigerian government but its activities have reduced since the arrest of Okah in South Africa.
Boko Haram says it wants to create and Islamic caliphate in northern part of Nigeria and has killed no less than 4,000 people since its activities started in 2009.