Tuesday, November 9, 2021

RLPB 623. Nigeria: Christian Crisis in Kaduna

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 623 | Wed 10 Nov 2021
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- Boko Haram sets up base in Rijana Forest, Chikun LGA.
Also UPDATE on Ethiopia Crisis
by Elizabeth Kendal

Ransomed child is reunited with family.
Source: Punch (25 July).

BETHEL BAPTIST HIGH SCHOOL: On Sunday 31 October the Vice-President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (19 Northern States and Abuja) and CAN's chairman in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph John Hayab, issued a statement regarding the four remaining captives from Kaduna's Bethel Baptist High School. The captive children are the last of the 121 students abducted from the school's hostel in Damishi, Chikun Local Government Area (LGA), by Fulani bandits in the early hours of Monday 5 July [RLPB 605 (7 July 2021)]. Since Sunday 25 July the bandits have been releasing the children in batches as ransom is paid. The last release occurred on 5 October; there has been no word since and fears for the children's safety and well-being are mounting. To hinder the region's out-of-control banditry, Kaduna authorities have suspended all telecommunications in the area. Unfortunately, this also means that Christians cannot phone for help when they come under attack and parents and intermediaries cannot contact kidnappers and vice versa. 'We have prayed, and we are still praying', said Rev Joseph Hayab as he lamented the government's slow response. 'The pains and trauma their parents are going through cannot be described. We must not forget these children.' Please pray.

Fulani gunmen/'bandits' (jihadist proxies)

EMMANUEL BAPTIST CHURCH: At 10am on Sunday 31 October Fulani gunmen surrounded Emmanuel Baptist Church in Kakau Daji, Chikun LGA, Kaduna State. Worship was in progress when the bandits began firing their weapons. One worshipper was killed, one was seriously wounded and 66 were taken captive. Then on Saturday 6 November the captors opened fire on their captives, killing two and wounding three who are now in hospital in a critical condition. On Sunday 7 November the President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC), Rev. Israel Akanji, confirmed that the bandits were carrying out their earlier threat to kill hostages until the government agrees to a round-table discussion. Not only does Rev. Israel Akanji have no authority to grant the kidnappers' request, he cannot even speak to President Buhari at the moment because the president is out of the country - in London, return date unknown. The remaining 61 captive church members are therefore in a diabolical situation. Please pray.

Kaduna LGAs
click on map to enlarge

TERRORISM: Located on the western edge of southern Kaduna, Chikun LGA is contiguous with Niger State's Shiroro and Munya LGAs where Boko Haram now controls some 500 communities [see: RLPB 618 (6 Oct 2021)]. According to reports, Boko Haram has relocated its base from the Sambisi Forest in Borno State to the Rijana Forest in Chikun LGA. According to reports, Boko Haram bomb makers - known as Amaliyyahs - have recently arrived at the Rijana Forest base. The State Security Service (SSS) - also called the Department of State Services (DSS) - has asked security agencies in Kaduna to brace themselves for likely attacks. Meanwhile, in Nigeria's north-east, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has reportedly procured fake military uniforms from Libya. The uniforms and other military supplies are allegedly in Cameroon, awaiting transport to the ISWAP base in the Lake Chad basin area of Borno State. According to the intelligence, ISWAP is planning major attacks on Nigerians during the Christmas season. Please pray.


* protect, sustain and ultimately deliver the four remaining captive children from Kaduna's Bethel Baptist High School. We pray also for Christian captive Leah Sharibu, held by Boko Haram in Yobe State since March 2018 [see: RLPB 448 (28 March 2018)] and for the more than 100 mostly Christian girls still missing after being abducted by Boko Haram from their school in Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014 [see: RLPB 257 (23 April 2014)]. Lord in your mercy, protect, sustain and deliver them all.

* intervene to save the believers abducted from Kaduna's Emmanuel Baptist Church; may the killing not continue. May the Holy Spirit help the believers to fix their eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3) who assures us, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,' and has promised, 'I am with you always' (Matthew 28:18-20).

* grant Nigeria's Christian leaders great wisdom and discernment as they are forced to negotiate with terrorists while seeking help and solutions from state and federal officials; we pray especially for those in crisis-wracked Kaduna. Lord in your mercy, guide them, sustain them and deliver Kaduna from the evil which plagues it.

* intervene in Nigeria to disrupt the plans of Islamic jihadists, including those wreaking havoc in the north-west and those in the north-east plotting Christmas terror; may supply lines be cut, may confusion abound and may those plotting evil devour themselves (Psalm 127:2).


Christian leaders have called upon Nigerians not to forget the victims of Kaduna's Bethel Baptist High School abduction. Of the 121 children abducted on 5 July, four remain in captivity and there has been no word from their captors since 5 October. Meanwhile, on Sunday morning 31 October, Fulani gunmen attacked Kaduna's Emmanuel Baptist Church, killing one believer, wounding another and abducting 66. The terrorists threatened to kill captives until the government agrees to talks. On Saturday 6 November they opened fire, killing two hostages and critically wounding three. Unfortunately, negotiator Rev. Israel Akanji does not have the authority to grant the terrorists' request and President Buhari is currently out of the country. Both attacks occurred in southern Kaduna's Chikun Local Government Area, where Boko Haram is establishing its new base. Please pray.


UPDATE to RLPB 602, Christian Crisis Looms as Rebels Advance, (3 Nov).

On Sunday 7 November over one million Ethiopians came together in Addis Ababa to voice their support for the government of Prime Minister Abiy and to protest TPLF-OLA belligerence, foreign interference, US duplicity, and Western media bias. It was the largest demonstration in Ethiopia's history. Smaller demonstrations also occurred in other major cities throughout the country. Meanwhile, the OLA continues its fight to sever the A2 highway, while the TPLF/TDF is fighting in Afar Region for the strategic town of Mille on the A1 highway. Ethiopian forces are reportedly massing in Shewa Robit ahead of a counter-offensive. While it is highly doubtful the TPLF-OLA could capture Addis Ababa, let alone hold it, there is absolutely no doubt about how much destruction they are prepared to unleash and how much Ethiopian blood they are prepared to spill. Please pray.

Over one million Ethiopians march in support of the government.
Addis Ababa, Sunday 7 November 2021.


Elizabeth Kendal is an international religious liberty analyst and advocate. She serves as Director of Research at Canberra-based Christian Faith and Freedom Inc (CFF) and is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at Melbourne School of Theology.

She has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).

See www.ElizabethKendal.com