Police discovered the body of a 79-year-old Christian woman killed in northeast Nigeria, with a note in Arabic left on her chest reading: "We will get you soon," a witness said Thursday.
The slaying raises religious tensions in Nigeria as a radical Islamist sect increasingly targets Christians in its bloody attacks. While police said they knew of no immediate suspects in the killing, witnesses blamed the attack on the sect known as Boko Haram, which has been blamed for killing at least 305 people this year alone, according to an Associated Press count.
The dead woman was identified as Shetu Haruna Malgwi, a Christian living in the city of Maiduguri in Nigeria's Muslim north. Assailants apparently attacked Malgwi on Wednesday, a day after she returned home from receiving an eye treatment in the city of Kaduna, Borno state police spokesman Samuel Tizhe said.
Her killers slit the woman's throat, then wrote a note with red pen they left on her chest, witness Audu Ibrahim said. Ibrahim said the woman's family believes the message is for her son, who is a pastor of a local church where the 79-year-old sang in the choir.
Authorities found a Bible placed under the woman's feet, Ibrahim said. Police continue to investigate the killing and no arrests have been made, Tizhe said.
Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the local Hausa language, is carrying out increasingly sophisticated and bloody attacks in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law and avenge Muslim killings in Nigeria, a multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people.
Maiduguri is the sect's spiritual home, though its members have carried out attacks across the north. This year, a spokesman for the sect warned it would begin specifically targeting Christians living in the north. That has further widened divisions between Christians and Muslims in the country.
Meanwhile, police said four police officers were killed in two separate attacks in Nigeria on Thursday.
Salisu Rabiu and Ibrahim Garba in Kano, and Bashir Adigun in Abuja, contributed to this report.