Tuesday, February 4, 2014

RLPB 246. Nigeria: one week's jihad in the north

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 246 | Wed 05 Feb 2014


By Elizabeth Kendal

Boko Haram is waging a jihad to Islamise Nigeria. Their jihad is supported by Al-Qaeda which is seeking to gain strategic depth in sub-Saharan Africa. Their base is in Borno State, in the far north-east of Nigeria. Meanwhile, Fulani Muslims are waging a jihad to colonise and extend control deeper into the Christian-dominated south. Their jihad is supported by Boko Haram and rogue Muslim elements within the security forces who see the advance of the Fulani as furthering their own goals. Their front-line is the Middle Belt, in particular the states of Kaduna and Plateau. This is classic Islamic jihad: strife/war/terror to expand the territory over which Islam rules.

ADAMAWA STATE (north-east Nigeria, bordering northern Cameroon)

Sunday 26 January 2014: unknown gunmen attacked St Paul's Roman Catholic Church in Chakawa village in Madagali Local Government Area (LGA). They stormed the church, locked the doors behind them, threw improvised explosives (IEDs) and opened fire on the worshippers. Moses Yohanna told reporters that several believers had their throats slit. 'My brother was slaughtered like a ram,' he said. At least 45 Christians were killed in the attack. Rahilla Ibrahim, who is pregnant, lost her husband and child and her home was burnt. According to a local Muslim, the militants set up a road block in a nearby area where they killed many Christians, before attacking Chakawa. Nigerian media report that a new tactic of Boko Haram appears to be attacking highways, including the use of 'snap road blocks'.

Friday 31 January: unknown gunmen attacked the EYN Church [Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria / the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria] at Sabon Gari Gemadai in Madagali LGA around 8:30pm when a prayer vigil was being held. The attackers opened fire on the worshippers, killing the pastor and ten members of the congregation. Two church members are reported to be missing.

BORNO STATE (far north-east)

Sunday 26 January: Boko Haram militants in 26 vehicles, including two armoured personnel carriers and six vans painted in army colours, attacked the weekly farmers' market in Kawuri Village in Konduga LGA. They torched over 300 homes and opened fire on the local population. Dozens have been hospitalised and 85 are dead. Some were shot and some were burned. Others were killed later by IEDs planted throughout the area. In total more than 4000 people were affected, with over 2000 becoming internally displaced.

Friday 31 January: seven people were killed and three others seriously injured when their bus ran over an IED on the Gwoza-Madagali road near Kuthra village.

KADUNA STATE (Middle Belt)

Friday 31 January: a mob of around 20 Fulani herdsmen (Muslims) invaded Manchok town in Kaura LGA, southern (Christian-dominated) Kaduna about 1 am. They set fire to at least one home and massacred a Christian family of seven, six of them slaughtered 'silently' as they slept in their beds. Traumatised and distraught relatives then launched a reprisal attack on a nearby Fulani settlement. Tensions are soaring. Though stationed in the area, security forces arrived at the scene only hours later, once the killers had long gone. At the funeral, Manchok Gaiya, the Catechist of St Francis Catholic Church, queried how such an attack could go unchallenged in an area that boasts a high concentration of security officers.

As Christian Solidarity notes: 'Kaura LGA borders Plateau State and is in relatively close proximity to Riyom, Bokkos and Birkin Ladi LGAs, where night attacks on non-Muslim villages have occurred regularly since 2010.'  'And how many cities have We destroyed, and Our punishment came to them at night or while they were sleeping at noon.' (Quran, Sura 7:4)

Despite jihad, Christian mission is strong and Muslims are turning to the Lord in unprecedented numbers. This is ultimately a spiritual battle.


* give the Nigerian government the clarity, conviction and courage to deny the Islamists their goals and preserve Nigeria as a united, secular state into the future.

* intervene to protect his people, confound the enemy and empower all Christian witness.

May those who seek to turn back the battle, find their wisdom and strength in the LORD of hosts. 'In that day the LORD of hosts will be . . . strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.' (Isaiah 28:5-6 ESV)

* stir up deep compassion and righteous indignation in the free and prosperous southern Christians to take up the cause of the profoundly suffering church in the north in a new, fresh and revitalised way, such that prayer and mission flow out on an unprecedented scale.


Christians in Nigeria's north-east continue to suffer at the hands of the al-Qaeda-linked Boko Haram which is waging a jihad to Islamise Nigeria. Meanwhile, Christians in the volatile Middle Belt -- Nigeria's ethnic-religious fault-line -- continue to suffer at the hands of Fulani Muslims who, with the support of Boko Haram and rogue security forces, conduct night raids to slaughter Christians while they sleep. Whole communities are being terrorised off their lands. Christians in Northern Nigeria are repressed, persecuted and traumatised. They are being killed while at worship in their churches. Despite this, mission is strong and Muslims are turning to the Lord in unprecedented numbers. Please pray for Nigeria and its Church in this spiritual battle.


Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah speaks to Christians today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)