Published: 14:00 GMT Daylight Time - Wednesday 09 May 2012
Nigerian Christians undeterred by violent attacks on churches
Country/Region: Africa, Nigeria
Christians in Northern Nigeria are refusing to let the threat of attack keep them away from Sunday services as security is stepped up after a spate of deadly bombings.
Going to church on a Sunday has become a highly dangerous activity for Nigerian Christians, who are being targeted by suspected Boko Haram militants. The Islamist group in March declared “war” on Christians, and since then a number of church attacks have left dozens dead.
Christians have been calling for more protection from the authorities, who have been struggling to get to grips with the Boko Haram menace.
In light of the attacks, courageous volunteer security guards are stopping vehicles at the entrance to church compounds and checking them for weapons and explosives. During services, they patrol the grounds, while armed police sit outside, keeping watch. It is hoped that such measures will deter those intent on causing harm.
The Rev. Emmanuel Daudu, a pastor in Kaduna, where churches were targeted at Easter in a blast that left around 40 people dead, said:
We don’t fear but we are security-conscious, because we don’t have to be relaxing and our enemies to take us unawares. We have to be alert always, because we don’t know their plans against us or against the church.
Nigerian Christians are undeterred by the risk of violent attack. Amako Laraba, a mother-of-two, who attends Mr Daudu’s church, said:
The Bible teaches me that we should have faith in God. This is our town. This is our home. This is where we should worship so we feel very free.
At this time of threat and tension, church services there are characterised by joyful singing, rousing preaching and focused prayer, as worshippers insist they will continue gathering despite the danger.
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