Nigerian terror group Boko Haram has intensified its murderous rampage, reportedly beheading men, forcing women to marry terrorists and taking over Christian churches in an area it claims to have captured and put under a caliphate.
As the group' becomes increasingly more violent, Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) is sounding the alarm that Boko Haram could "explode any day" and become a more serious world danger similar to the Islamic State, a terror group operating in Iraq and Syria.
"Boko Haram’s attacks on the people of Nigeria have become more vicious. Their wicked deeds are devastating men, women and children, Christians and Muslims. Everyone is a target for Boko Haram," Wilson told PJ Media this week. "Boko Haram has the potential to explode any day, like [the Islamic State]. Now we have a major international crisis to deal with in Iraq. The international community must not let this terror continue."
A picture taken on April 3, 2014 in Maine-Soroa, eastern Niger, shows Nigerian children standing near a tent at a camp for refugees who fled the fighting between the Nigerian army and the Islamist rebels of Boko Haram. (BOUREIMA HAMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Recent news reports seem to corroborate Wilson's claims. The terror group, which is headed by radical leader Abubakar Shekau, is said to be reportedly beheading men and forcing women to convert to the Muslim faith, according to Christian Today.
An official with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri recently said that the situation in Nigeria is grave.
"Things are getting pretty bad," the Rev. John Bakeni, secretary of the diocese, said, according to Religion News Service. "A good number of our parishes in Pulka and Madagali areas have been overrun in the last few days."
A statement attributed to the diocese further detailed what's been unfolding in the region, noting that the situation has "truly gone out of control,"according to an article in Nigeria's the Daily Post.
"Apart from the churches within Maiduguri that have great share of such attacks by the terrorists group, all the churches on the major road linking Maiduguri and Adamawa state have been shut down due to activities of the insurgents," the statement read.
But in addition to churches being shuttered and taken over, militants have also reportedly burned down houses of worship and committed murders in what the release called "a moment of great persecution."
"Christian men were caught and beheaded, the women were forced to become Muslims and were taken as wives to the terrorists. The houses of Christians that have fled are now occupied by the Haramists," the statement continued. "Their cars are used by the terrorists. Some Boko Haram sympathizers around the town showed the terrorists Christian homes, and Christians hiding were also identified and killed."
In this image made from video received by The Associated Press on Monday, May 5, 2014, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Nigeria's Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, threatened to sell the nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls abducted from a school in the remote northeast three weeks ago. (AP)
Every member of society has been impacted. In addition to harming adult residents, both Boko Haram and pro-government forces are both said to be using child soldiers, Bloomberg reported.
The Islamist group has been accused of recruiting kids "through abduction, threatening children’s families, and incentivizing boys and young men to join the group by providing them with monetary compensation," according to the Watchlist, a group that tackles children's roles in world conflict.
All of this comes as Boko Haram claims to have made a very serious land grab. TheBlaze reported last Wednesday that Shekau recently announced a caliphate in the Nigerian town of Gwoza.; the group also captured the town of Bama this week. Both are located in the Nigerian state of Borno.
"Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in [the town of] Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate," Shekau said in a video the group released. "By the grace of Allah we will not leave the town. We have come to stay."
But despite this past support, it is unclear whether the northeastern town of Gwoza in Nigeria is considered part of the same caliphate established in Iraq and Syria — or a new, unrelated territory solely under Boko Haram’s control.
An image from a previous attack on on February 11, 2014. People stand next to dead bodies, which are laid out for burial, in the village of Konduga, in northeastern Nigeria, after a gruesome attack by Boko Haram Islamists killed 39 people. (AFP/Getty Images)
“Allah commands us to rule Gwoza by Islamic law,” he said, speaking as two armed gunman surrounded him. “In fact, he commands us to rule the rest of the world, not only Nigeria, and now we have started.”
Read more about this caliphate here.