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Church attack in Nigeria’s Kogi state ki...

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Church attack in Nigeria’s Kogi state kills 20; evangelist shot dead in Borno state

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Church attack in Nigeria’s Kogi state kills 20; evangelist shot dead in Borno state

Country/Region: Africa, Nigeria

At least 20 people, including a pastor, have been killed in a gun attack on a church in central Nigeria, while an evangelist was shot dead at his home in a north-eastern city.

The church attack took place in Kogi state
The church attack took place in Kogi state

A group of gunmen stormed Deeper Life Church in Otite, in the Okene region of Kogi state, during an evening service on Monday 6 August. They cut the electricity supply, blocked the exits and opened fire on the trapped worshippers; 15 people were killed at the scene and a further five later died in hospital. Many people were wounded, while others may have fled into the bush.

The following day, a suspected bomb was found at Revival House Church in the capital of Kogi state, Lokoja.

Elsewhere, in Maiduguri, Borno state, evangelist Ali Samari (57) was shot dead, reportedly at his home, on Monday evening. An eyewitness said that Ali was followed by two gunmen as he made his way home from his other work as a watch repairer. He had previously been warned by suspected Boko Haram militants to leave his property.

No-one has yet claimed responsibility for the incidents, but Islamist group Boko Haram has mounted scores of attacks on churches and Christians in North and central Nigeria in recent months. A number of its members are reported to come from Kogi state.

Kogi forms part of Nigeria's Middle Belt, in which Christians and Muslims live in roughly equal numbers. It is further south than most areas previously affected by Boko Haram's brutal campaign, but this year it has witnessed several violent incidents.

On 15 July a car bomb exploded near Living Faith Church in Okene where hundreds of people had gathered for a service. On that occasion no-one was hurt. The security forces also prevented a suspected suicide bomber from detonating explosives at another church.

Earlier this year Boko Haram said that it had attacked a jail in Kogi and freed 119 inmates, while the authorities raided a supposed bomb-making factory in Okene and killed at least nine alleged members of the group.

Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people this year in pursuit of its goal of an Islamic state in the North of Nigeria. It has targeted Christians in particular, whom it has designated its "enemies", though members of the security forces and others have also been attacked.

The group's attacks seem to be spreading across Nigeria, and their extension towards the predominantly Christian South is a further disturbing development for the country's churches.

 

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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 6 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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