Displaying items by tag: Nigeria
Gunmen abducted 39 students, most of whom are Christians, from a college in Kaduna state on 11 March. An armed gang raided the college in Kaduna at 9.30 pm, shooting indiscriminately and rounding up 219 people. Of these, 180 were rescued by the army soon afterwards. Several videos have been released showing the 39 abducted students being threatened, beaten, and whipped. In another video, a male student (named Emmanuel) being held at gunpoint pleads with the government to intervene. He added, ‘Many of us here have been injured - badly injured. Most of us here have health issues.’ Meanwhile we can praise God that Pastor Yakuru, kidnapped by Boko Haram on Christmas Eve 2020, was released on 3 March, the day the terrorists said they would execute him. His release was negotiated by the department of state services and a national charity.
Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year. In overall violence, it was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed. Nigeria also led the world in the number of kidnapped Christians last year and broke into the top ten countries for the first time, where it is most difficult to be a Christian, jumping to number 9 (from 12 last year). On 2 April you were asked to pray for the release of eight Christians who were abducted on their way to evangelise in Kaduna state. This week we can thank God that our prayers have been answered, and they were freed and taken to hospital for checkup and tests.
Eight Christians have been abducted while on their way to evangelise in Kaduna state. The group of members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God were travelling towards the town of Kafanchan when gunmen intercepted the bus, according to International Christian Concern and the Nigerian Tribune. Eje Kenny Faraday, a witness, posted a picture on Facebook showing the empty bus saying, ‘All passengers in the bus are just kidnapped along Kachia Road, Km 63 from Kaduna.’ The kidnappers have demanded the equivalent of £88,000 for their release. A search for the members has been launched by security agencies including the police and the military.
When Nigerian front-line worker Daniel Zagi was interviewed by Voice of the Martyrs, he used the word ‘pray’ 42 times. ‘If there is anything you want to do for us, pray’, he said. ‘We are here, and we are fighting for the cause of the gospel in the north.’ Many Christians in northern Nigeria have lost loved ones and homes in attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani militants, who seek to drive Christians out and establish an Islamist nation. Many pastors have been forced to flee the region, and entire congregations have been displaced. Nigerian believers need our prayers as they advance the gospel amid these violent attacks. Pray that believers suffering repeated attacks will withstand persecution and persevere in faith. Ask God to comfort all those who have experienced great loss because of this violence.
The 2014 kidnap of 276 Chibok schoolgirls brought global attention to raids on schools in Nigeria. Now criminals are making money with copycat crimes. Nearly 300 girls were kidnapped from a boarding school last week, then released four days later after a ransom was paid. One girl said, ‘Most of us got injured, and we could not carry on walking. They said they would shoot anybody who did not continue walking. We walked across a river and they let us sleep under shrubs in a forest.’ Their release was secured through negotiations between government officials and the abductors. Kidnapping for ransom is a widespread criminal enterprise. Both rich and poor are seized by gunmen on almost a daily basis. Security personnel have also been held. The aim is to secure someone's release by raising funds from friends and relatives - or even selling their assets.
Slaughtering Nigerian Christians continues unabated. An average of ten Christians are killed daily. A recent episode was at the hands of the government, which executed six Christian soldiers in Abuja on false charges. A Muslim colonel stole weapons from an armoury, but six Christian soldiers on duty got blamed for the theft. Their lawyer claimed they died ‘purely because they were Igbo and Christian. The government of today detests Christianity and detests the Igbo tribe.’ He had petitioned the government to provide a defence, but his attempt was denied and they were executed in secret. Nigeria’s constitution gives the military no authority to execute people, and prisoners should be able to appeal to a higher court. They didn’t get their rights. The military now claims that they were never executed, but they have not been seen by their families or in public.
In 2014, militants stormed a boarding school in Chibok and kidnapped 276 girls. Dozens escaped almost immediately; another girl was found in May 2016. After government/Boko Haram negotiations, 21 more girls were released, then 82 were freed in a prisoner swap in 2017. Since then, nothing had been heard of the remaining captives, until Halima Ali Maiyanga called her father to say she had managed to escape on 28 January. ‘She asked me, Is this my daddy? and she started crying. The crying was so much I couldn't hear her very well. I was crying too. I never expected to hear from her again. Our house is full of people rejoicing with us.’ Halima and others are safe and being looked after by the Nigerian army. While we praise God for their escape, please continue to pray for the remaining girls and their families.
A Christmas Eve attack by Boko Haram which left at least eleven dead and two church buildings razed to the ground prompted Nigerian bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri to issue a rallying cry, insisting Islamist violence is doomed to failure. Bishop Oliver said he was undaunted by the attack in Pemi, near Chibok, where over 270 mostly Christian schoolgirls had been kidnapped in 2016. Speaking after the attack, in which a priest was abducted, he said, ‘One thing that Boko Haram will never take from us is our faith. We will never allow our faith to be taken away by any evil. Our faith is becoming stronger and stronger. 100 people were baptised in one parish on Christmas Eve. People are so committed.’ The Bishop said that Boko Haram’s actions were in fact strengthening the Christian faith; his diocese has more Catholics than when there was no Boko Haram crisis.
Bullets fly overhead as schoolboys scream out in fear. Chaos. Shrapnel. Hundreds go missing. This was the scene last week when Boko Haram militants stormed a high-school in Katsina, northern Nigeria, to abduct hundreds of students, 400 remain missing. It is a horror story reminiscent of the 2014 kidnapping of schoolgirls that prompted the viral #BringBackOurGirls campaign. The attack came just weeks after the brutal slaying of Nigerian farmers in Borno state by militants on motorcycles (thirty were beheaded). Nigeria's population is 50% Christian and 50% Muslim with groups like Boko Haram subscribing to a warped interpretation of Islam that justifies murder of Christians. In practice, both Christians and Muslims have been targeted in recent years. Pray for the government to improve its standards and protect vulnerable communities. Pray the authorities will also terminate the Special Anti-Robbery Squad’s contract to end the torture and extrajudicial killings that it has engaged in. STOP PRESS: it has now been reported that all the schoolboys have been released by Boko Haram. See
An attack on 28 November by Boko Haram terrorists on farmers working in rice fields in northeastern Nigeria killed at least 110 people. ‘The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. Many women are also believed to have been kidnapped. Security forces and volunteer vigilante groups are searching to find people still missing. Locals say they recovered 43 bodies in villages near Maiduguri, the capital of the restive Borno state, which has been plagued by an armed campaign for over ten years. A local resident said, ‘Nobody knows the exact number of people killed. We can’t account for farmers who were there; we don’t know if they are hiding in the bush or if they were kidnapped.’ Pray for God to comfort the mourners. See also