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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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  • 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 Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

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  • 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

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