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Dozens dead in triple attack on Christians by Muslims in Nigeria

Country/Region: Africa, Nigeria

Over 65 people, including two politicians, have been killed in a triple attack on a Christian farming community in Plateau state, Nigeria, by Muslims.

Scene_near_Jos_4X3.jpg
Christian-owned farms were destroyed in the first attack
Jeremy Weate / CC BY 2.0

The first incident happened on Thursday morning (5 July) when Muslims destroyed 43 Christian-owned farms. Nobody was arrested. They followed this up on Saturday (7 July) with attacks on nine Christian villages around the city of Jos, killing dozens of people.  

The next day, a funeral for the victims of the village raids was attacked by Muslims. Two Christian politicians in attendance, Gyang Dantong, the senator representing Plateau North, and Gyang Fulani, the majority leader of the state assembly, were shot dead. Several other people were also killed.

Security forces said Muslim Fulani herdsmen were behind the violence but Islamist militant group Boko Haram issued a statement on Tuesday (10 July) in which they seemed to be claiming responsibility for the attacks. It said:

We thank Allah for the successful attack... in Plateau state on Christians and security men. 

A spokesman for the state’s governor said that the Muslims resented Plateau state’s Christian political leadership. The state is in Nigeria’s Middle Belt between the country’s predominantly Muslim North and mainly Christian South. It has been the scene of frequent anti-Christian violence.

A local Christian leader blamed the Nigerian government for failing to protect Christians. He said that most of the military forces in the area protect Muslim villages instead of the Christian ones.

One commentator suggested that the deaths of the politicians may drive the tensions in Jos to the top of the political agenda.

The triple attack in Plateau state comes as Christians, especially those in Northern Nigeria, are under the mounting threat of violence by Boko Haram, which wants to establish an Islamic state there. Churches have been bombed on an almost weekly basis over the last few months, including two in Jos within the space of two weeks.

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  • “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 8 hours ago

  • 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

  • Indians have started going to the polls this week in a general election that is taking place in phases until 12 May. The ruling, secular Congress party is expected to be defeated by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This would be an ominous outcome for the country’s Christian minority. The BJP has given support to extremist groups that attack Christians; states under the party’s rule have generally experienced a rise in anti-Christian violence. It has introduced anti-conversion laws on a state level, and has pledged to introduce national legislation to curb "missionary" activity and end proselytising if elected nationally. Pray for wisdom for Indians as they vote and that the outcome will result in a just government that upholds the rights and freedoms of all citizens. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

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