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Boko Haram declares “war” on Christians in Nigeria and threatens to eradicate them from parts of the country

Country/Region: Africa, Nigeria

Militant Islamist group Boko Haram has declared “war” on Christians in Nigeria, saying that they are planning coordinated attacks to “eradicate Christians from certain parts of the country”.

A spokesman for the group, which has stepped up its violent campaign against Christians in the North since Christmas, said on Sunday (4 March):

We will create so much effort to end the Christian presence in our push to have a proper Islamic state that the Christians won’t be able to stay.

Church-of-Christ-in-Nigeria_Attacks2_4X3.jpg
The wreckage after a suicide bomber struck a church in Jos
Image source: Stefanos foundation

Boko Haram’s actions over recent months indicate that this is no idle threat.

Following a series of attacks on churches and other targets in five states over Christmas that left more than 40 people dead, the group on New Year’s Day issued a three-day deadline for Christians to leave the North. Unrelenting attacks have ensued, including the bombing of a number of churches as well as attacks on individual Christians.

Most recently, on 26 February, a suicide bomber drove a car into the grounds of the Church of Christ headquarters in Jos. The vehicle exploded three metres from the church building; two women and an 18-month-old child were killed, and around 50 people were injured.

The violence is having the intended effect of driving Christians from the North. Nearly 95 per cent of the Christians have left Yobe State, where 20 churches have been torched and many lives have been lost.

Some are heading to the mainly Christian South, while others are crossing the border into Cameroon. The mass migration is precipitating a major humanitarian and spiritual crisis in Nigeria; Northern Christians who have been forced to leave behind their homes and jobs are in great need, while, as the Christian presence diminishes, the Church is being wiped off the map in the North.

Boko Haram has killed around 1,000 people since 2009 in its bloody campaign to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria. As well as attacking Christians, the group targets police, security forces and politicians, and also Muslim leaders who oppose its agenda. Over 300 people have been killed so far this year.

The government has been trying to curtail Boko Haram’s activities, deploying military units across the country, and arresting and killing a number of members in recent weeks. But, issuing the latest threat, the group’s spokesman said that the government “cannot be prepared for what is to come”.

Please Pray:
  • Thank God that the Nigerian authorities are trying to thwart Boko Haram’s agenda; pray that they will have the resources they need and use them effectively.
  • Pray that the Lord will protect His people in Northern Nigeria and give church leaders wisdom as they seek to advise and care for their congregations.
  • Pray for all those who have been forced to flee their homes, that they will receive the practical and spiritual support that they need at this traumatic time.
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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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    • Please pray for Christians in northern Cameroon, where Boko Haram is terrorising people, especially Christians and security forces, just as in neighbouring Nigeria. The Islamist militants openly declare themselves to be Boko Haram, and issue threats by letter, including to pastors telling them they must leave. Two pastors were killed in the village of Assigashia on the night of 25-26 August, hich has caused great distress and consternation. The Cameroonian Christians ask for prayer that God will bring peace and security, that the kidnapped will be released, that believers will stand firm despite being targeted, that God will comfort the traumatised, and that church leaders will know how to prepare their people for persecution. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 23 hours ago

    • “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 Tue, Oct 2014 00:00

    • 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

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