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Christians killed and churches bombed amid Islamist violence in Nigeria

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Christians killed and churches bombed amid Islamist violence in Nigeria

Project(s): 00-345

Country/Region: Nigeria, Africa

Two worshippers were killed and at least 12 injured in an armed raid on a church, and at least six other churches were bombed during a spate of widespread attacks by Islamist militants in Northern Nigeria that left around 150 people dead.

A church in Tabak village, Kaduna State, was targeted during a prayer meeting on Thursday evening (3 November). As the meeting was drawing to a close, gunmen burst into the building and fired at the congregation, which consisted mainly of women and children. Two women died at the scene, while at least twelve other people were wounded; some were said to be in a critical condition.

Burnt_Building_Nigeria_4X3.jpg
Christians are frequently victims of violence in Nigeria

The Reverend Yunusa Nmadu, secretary of the Kaduna State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, condemned the armed attack “on innocent Christian worshippers in the church” and expressed concern that the incident had happened “in spite of the heavy presence of soldiers in the area”.

The following day, two other Northern states were rocked by a series of deadly bomb and gun attacks for which the militant Islamist group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility. A rescue agency official said that the death toll stood at 150.

The militants mainly targeted the security forces, hitting police stations and an army base in Yobe and Borno states. Churches were also attacked; six were bombed in a mainly Christian neighbourhood of Damaturu called Jerusalem in Yobe state. One minister whose church was burnt down said gangs of young men were roaming the streets throwing improvised bombs into church buildings.     

Boko Haram, which is fighting to establish an Islamic state in the North, has carried out a number of major strikes this year; more than 240 people have died in the group’s violent campaign. Their spiritual leader, Abubakar Shekau, has urged followers to carry out more assassinations and bombings, saying:

Whomever we kill, we kill because Allah says we should kill and we kill for a reason.

Tensions have been particularly high in Northern Nigeria since April when Muslims went on the rampage in protest against the re-election of Christian President Goodluck Jonathan. They unleashed their rage against Christian targets among others; scores of churches were destroyed, hundreds of people killed and tens of thousands displaced during the violence.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid, said:

Islamists have once again wreaked havoc in Nigeria, leaving a trail of devastation and destroyed lives. Amid this ongoing carnage, our brothers and sisters continue to suffer. We must pray earnestly for peace in that troubled land and be ready to help meet the practical needs of Christians who have been affected by the violence.

Give Today

Christian minorities in Northern Nigeria and many other contexts are very vulnerable to anti-Christian violence. If you would like to help brothers and sisters who have been affected by such attacks, please send your donation to project 00-345 (Victims of Violence Fund). Please click to donate online using our secure server.

If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference 00-345 (Victims of Violence Fund).

If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference 00-345 (Victims of Violence Fund).

For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/345 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).

Resources

There is a poster for download to advertise this appeal here and a PowerPoint slide for your church notices is available here.

Please Pray:
  • That there will be peace in Nigeria, and that the authorities will be able to restrain Boko Haram’s terrorist activities.
  • For all those people who have lost loved ones or been injured in the latest attacks.
  • That the Lord will give Nigerian Christians the strength to stand firm in their faith amid unrelenting attacks.
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Christians killed and churches bombed amid Islamist violence in Nigeria

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    • “The cathedral in Damaturu now has only about 40 members instead of 450 members. The church in Potiskum now has only about 15 members instead of 500 members… the southern part of [Yobe state] is still very dangerous and most of the churches here have closed down.” A senior church leader in Nigeria wrote to Barnabas Aid in August about the impact on the Church of Boko Haram’s violence. Nevertheless Christians were still holding worship services every Sunday, discipling the young people and even commissioning pastors. Praise God for such perseverance, and pray that a Christian presence and witness may remain in north-east Nigeria. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 2 hours ago

    • Heavenly Father, we pray to You for our Christian brothers and sisters in north-eastern Nigeria, who are so vulnerable in the face of attacks by Boko Haram militants. We remember especially those who used to live in Madagali, in Adamawa state, until their town was seized by Boko Haram two months ago. We think of those who were betrayed into the hands of Boko Haram by their neighbours pointing out Christian homes or places where Christians had hidden. We bring before You those who saw their menfolk beheaded, and women forcibly converted to Islam. We cry out to You to intervene and bring an end to the murderous attacks by Boko Haram. We pray for all the thousands of Nigerian Christians who have suffered in similar attacks that they will not lose hope or faith in You, but will know Your peace which passes understanding. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Pray for a pastor in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania whose home was attacked on 17 May; two of his children were injured. When he went to report the incident to the police, he was falsely accused of raping a young woman who had left Islam to follow Christ. The pastor had taken her into his home, along with four other converts, after she was thrown out by her family; it was they who made the accusation against him. He has faced much opposition because of his fruitful outreach to Muslims, and several failed attempts have been made to frame him with false accusations. Pray that the sovereign Lord will help him and that he will not be disgraced (Isaiah 50:7-9). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Oct 2014 00:00

    • A church on Mafia Island, part of the Zanzibar archipelago, was attacked on 9 May by around 80 young Muslim men armed with arrows and knives. The church members, who are mainly converts from Islam, had gathered for their weekly overnight prayer session when the attackers appeared, shouting “death to ritad’i” (those who leave Islam). They set fi re to the church, leaving the interior in ruins, and then went in search of the pastor, but he was not at home. The incident followed a bomb blast at another church in Mwanza in mainland Tanzania on 5 May, in which a worker at the church rest house was critically injured. Pray that the authorities will effectively address the increasing incidence of attacks against churches. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Cry out to the Lord for the many Christian victims of kidnapping by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Remember especially the more than two hundred teenage girls who were taken from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state, on the night of 14 April. A video released in May showed eight of the girls speaking about their ordeal; they plead for their release, and one says, “I never expected to suffer like this in my life.” It is believed that they have been divided into at least four groups and that most of them are being held in camps outside Nigeria. They are hungry, while some are unwell and need medical attention. Pray for their safe release and for that of other kidnapped Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Oct 2014 00:00

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