The church attack took place at about 9:30 a.m. when the service was going on.
Two days after suspected members of the Boko Haram killed the Emir of Gwoza, Idris Titman; members of the insurgent group on Sunday attacked a church in the town killing nine worshippers.
The villagers then pursued and killed four of the assailants, arresting three others, a witness and a security source said.
The gunmen attacked Antagara Village in Gwoza during the Church service at about 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. They reportedly rode on motorcycles and a truck, and opened fire on the church.
Many people were also injured during the attack.
The Sunday attack, PREMIUM TIMES learnt, was a revenge attack by the Boko Haram gunmen who were angered by the arrest of their members the previous day in Gwoza town.
“The attack occurred in the morning at about 9.30 at EYN Church (Church of Brethren, Nigeria) while the service was going on”, a fleeing resident, Ms. Martha, told journalists in Maiduguri on Monday.
“Our church has some men as security group. They usually keep vigilance of the church especially when service is going on. As we were holding service, we started hearing gunshots and everybody fled.
“But the men in our village quickly called themselves together and chased after the Boko Haram gunmen. They were more than 10 and our men including the vigilante killed four of the Boko Haram and arrested three of them. It was later that we discovered that nine of our men in the church security group were shot dead. I and some other women left Antagara yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, we slept at Gwoza to get to Maiduguri today,” Ms. Matha disclosed.
Neither the military nor the police have issued any statement on the Gwoza attack, but a security source at the Department of the State Security, SSS, confirmed the incident off the record when he spoke to PREMIUM TIMES.
“Gwoza is boiling presently because the incident is taking a dimension that may spark religious strife amongst the Muslim-Christian community in the Gwoza neighborhood”, said the security source.
Attacks in different Borno communities by the Boko Haram have continued despite an emergency rule in place in the state.