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Violence Escalating In Diffa Niger, Maiduguri, And More Threats From Boko Haram

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"Diffa 1" by Mab.black - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Diffa 1” by Mab.black – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Diffa is a city and Urban Commune in the extreme southeast of Niger, near that country’s border with Nigeria. It is the administrative seat of both Diffa Region, and the smaller Diffa Department.  Diffa marks the eastern end of the paved section of Route Nationale 1, the main east west highway across Niger, although the section between Zinder and Diffa is only partially paved in places. 

NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — The Nigeria-based Islamic extremist group Boko Haram escalated its attacks in neighboring countries Monday, as a car bomb exploded in one Niger town repeatedly targeted by the militants and residents said other fighters in Cameroon had abducted 20 people aboard a public bus.

Neighboring countries like Chad and Cameroon have joined together and sent forces to battle Boko Haram.  Boko Haram recently released a video declaring that they could not be stopped specifically targeting Niger, Chad and Cameroon.    The video asked for Muslims to denounce democracy and come to Sharia.  There was a protest over the weekend in Cameroon by the people denouncing Boko Haram and supporting their troops to fight them.  The governments have said that Boko Haram will be gone in 6 weeks.  “They won’t be there. They will be dismantled,” Referencing the postponement of the elections until March.   (More)

Those fleeing Boko Haram are desperate and overwhelmed.

There also has been fierce fighting in Maiduguri.  According to NBC news in a recent report, 4 of the 5 roads leading into the city have been blocked by Boko Haram.  Maiduguri has a population of about 2 million and is known for it’s trade.  People are attempting to flee, but many can’t for the lack of money.

Deadly attacks by the militant group Boko Haram have put a stranglehold on one of Nigeria’s key cities, limiting supplies and sending prices skyrocketing amid mounting fears of a massacre.  Four of the five roads out of Maiduguri have been blocked off by Boko Haram, which has mounted two large-scale assaults in the past 10 days on the city. The city is the birthplace of the insurgency and a potential jewel in the crown of the militants’ caliphate. (More)

 

Many residents fear it is only a matter of time before the city is overrun.

Screenshot Maiduguri aftermath (Feb. 2015)

Screenshot Maiduguri aftermath (Feb. 2015)

It’s very dangerous and difficult to verify reports with those on the ground.  Some Facts about Maiduguri:

  • Its residents are mostly Muslim including Kanuri,Hausa, Shuwa, Bura, Marghi, and Fulani ethnic groups. There is also a considerable Christian population.
  • Muslim supremacists in the region have been mass murdering non-Muslims since the 60’s and 70’s, while members of religious sects led intercomunal violence in 1982 and 2001.  But never on this scale and magnitude we are seeing now.
  • On 18 February 2006, riots related to the Prophet Muhammad cartoons published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten left at least 15 people dead, and resulted in the destruction of approximately 12 churches.
  • Maiduguri was also the scene of major religious violence throughout Northeast Nigeria committed by an Islamist group, Boko Haram, in July 2009, leaving over 700 people dead.
  •  Since 2009  the numbers have drastically increased.  Those killed numbering in the tens of thousands and those displaced by them are over 1 million.  The amount of territory they have ravaged and control has recently been described as the size of Belgium.

It’s impossible to know the suffering these people feel as they watch their lives, their homes, their towns overrun by evil approaching in the cover of darkness slaughtering, kidnapping and rape.  One refugee camp has been evicted as they will need this camp for security forces coming in to monitor the elections.  It has been said that the government gave them 60,000 N ($300.00)  to go into town and rent a house.  These people have not had adequate food for at least a month and now they are faced with eviction from a safe haven.

Prayer Points:

  1. Pray for God’s intervention.
  2. Pray for strength and courage for God’s people.
  3. Pray for Christ’s light to be shown to the attackers and for God to change their hearts of hate into hearts filled with love.
  4. Pray for God to show these precious soul’s fleeing that He is with them, and will guide them to peace.

C. Refsland/VOP Advocate/News Analyst

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