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Islamist violence drives nearly 95 per c...

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Islamist violence drives nearly 95 per cent of Christians from Nigerian state

Country/Region: Africa, Nigeria

One Northern Nigerian state has been almost entirely cleared of Christians; they have been forced to flee the relentless campaign of violence against them by militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

Nigeria_Attacks_4X3.jpg
Anti-Christian violence is increasing
in Northern Nigeria

The Rev. Garba Idi, chairman of the Yobe State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said that nearly 95 per cent of the Christians have left Yobe.

He said:

The situation in Yobe is terrible. Churches were burnt and attacked while many Christians lost their lives in the course of this mayhem…

We have to leave because the sect is hunting us; that is why we had to flee… Many Christians have left Yobe to save their lives from these attacks.

More than 20 churches have been torched in Yobe since November; homes and vehicles belonging to Christians have also been damaged. Many lives have been lost in the violence; 15 Christians have been killed so far this year.

Following a series of attacks over Christmas, Boko Haram issued an ultimatum on New Year’s Day giving Christians three days to leave the North. They followed up the threat with further killings, which are having the intended effect of driving many Christians out of the North.

Some are going to safer parts of the country while others are crossing the border into Cameroon.

“Systematic elimination”

The Church of England’s General Synod last week called on the Government to “do all it can” to support the protection of religious minorities in Nigeria.

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Justin Welby, said that the violence in the country had become “pervasive”, and that the Church in Northern Nigeria was “systematically, deliberately and progressively being eliminated”.

The authorities have been criticised for their inadequate response to the violence by Boko Haram, which is fighting to establish an Islamic state in the North. A report to the General Synod warned that the church in the north east of the country in particular had received “little protection, if any”.

On 10 February, a man suspected of masterminding the bombing of a church in Madalla near the capital, Abuja, on Christmas Day that left around 35 people dead was recaptured. Kabiru Sokoto was initially arrested last month but escaped the following day while being escorted by the police. It was an embarrassing episode for the police that led some to criticise their incompetence, while others suggested that there may even have been collusion between security officials and Boko Haram.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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Daily prayer

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  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 14 hours ago

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Lift up to the Lord persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka, where at least 65 anti-Christian incidents took place during 2013, including repeat attacks on several believers and their property in October 2013. However, a Sri Lankan government minister from a Buddhist nationalist party denied the accounts, saying that they might be “made up”. The minister claimed that Sri Lankans are “one family … trying to live together after a long civil war”. Pray that the Sri Lankan government will recognise the danger that our brothers and sisters face from militant Buddhists and that the authorities will provide effective protection for vulnerable Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi’s final appeal hearing is scheduled to take place tomorrow (14 April) having been deferred twice. She was sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010 having been falsely accused of insulting Muhammad following an argument with Muslim co-workers. Aasia has been languishing in jail since the accusation was made in June 2009. Pray that her appeal will finally go ahead and that the judges will have the courage to acquit and release Aasia; there are concerns that they may give in to pressure from hardline Islamists who have been calling for her execution. Pray that Aasia, her husband and children will know the Lord’s peace as they await the verdict. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

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