Nigeria: (Voice of the Persecuted) For the past year, the world’s focus has been on the terror group ISIS, but many have overlooked the 6 year Nigerian nightmare called Boko Haram. For years, Voice of the Persecuted has warned about the insatiable bloodlust of this notorious Islamic group and compared their deadly campaign equal to, if not worse than, the Islamic State’s (ISIS). But news coming out of Nigeria garners little interest, even our own Nigerian reports barely get a glance. This has led our team to often call persecuted North Nigerian Christians, the invisibles. It isn’t hard to see why God has called our hearts and hands for our Nigerian brothers and sisters. The lack of interest has caused greater hardship and suffering for Christians in the north of the country.
Attacks and military clashes have forced a staggering number of North Nigerians from their homes. 2.2 million people have been labeled as IDP’s, internally displaced people. The UNHCR is reporting 175,000 more have sought safety in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Thousands of people, including children have been abducted, especially girls. Some of those kidnapped have escaped or been released and tell a horrifying story, which can be called nothing less than evil. Many have only heard of the Chibok schoolgirls taken in April 2014 who are still missing. Since taking office in May 2015, President Buhari and his new government promised to eliminate the militant threat and have stepped up counter-insurgency efforts, but the humanitarian crisis shows no sign of declining.
Nigeria is divided in two parts: the predominantly Christian South and the Muslim North. Most incidents recorded are in the northern part of the country. The Boko Haram goal is to Islamize society and force strict Sharia, Islamic law on the population.
Though the government and coalition forces have sought to destroy Boko Haram, the militants continue attacks through suicide bombers, often using young girls. Some of the girls have been reported to be as young as 10 years old. We’ve learned many girls have been given by their militant fathers to carry out these missions. These girls get only one choice, become a suicide bomber or be killed. One girl described watching another girl buried half underground then stoned to death for refusing to take part in the deadly missions. 1,000 people have been killed, mostly in suicide bombings, since Buhari took office. For years Nigeria has been asking the U.S. to help defend against the terror group, but it wasn’t until President Buhari took office that the Obama Administration offered to do more. 300 U.S. troops have now been sent to Cameroon where they will help train military personnel and operate drones.
The Director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, J. Peter Pham warned, “The literally fatal conceit of all too many policymakers and analysts with respect to Boko Haram is to constantly underestimate it,” and “This despite the fact that the group has repeatedly proven itself to be one of the most resilient of its kind and has constantly shifted not only in terms of tactics and operations but also strategy and, indeed, ideology.”
According to The Institute for Economics and Peace latest report, Boko Haram is responsible for more deaths than other militant group in the world.
Terrorism spread significantly in the past year, with attacks and fatalities in more countries than ever. While many countries experience no terrorist activity, the number of countries to experience at least one or more deaths from terrorist activity has increased from 59 in 2013 to 67 in 2014. This includes OECD countries such as Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada and France.
Despite this, just five countries – Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria– account for 78% of all deaths in 2014. Importantly, over 60% of the countries ranked by the Index experienced no deaths from terrorism, and 13 times as many people are killed globally by homicides than die in terrorist attacks.
Terrorist activity is a significant driver of forced migration. Ten of the 11 countries most affected by terrorism also have the highest rates of refugees and internal displacement. This highlights the strong connection between the current refugee crisis, terrorism and conflict.
On Wednesday, a suicide bomber exploded at a busy marketplace in Yola where many of the IDP’s have sought refuge. At least 34 people were killed and 80 injured.
On the same day, two suicide bombers killed at least 15 people in the city of Kano and 53 wounded.
Since their insurgency, Boko Haram has killed 20,000 and forced millions to flee their homes. The U.N. Children’s Fund says 10.5 million children are out of school in Nigeria, the highest number in the world.— Only half the children among the millions of refugees from the uprising are going to school in camps. Boko Haram which means, “Western education is forbidden” has committed many atrocities at schools that have closed, been burned down or been abandoned in northeastern Borno state.
The Nigeria crisis is overwhelming. The effects of persecution doesn’t end with the attack, it’s only the beginning. North Nigerian Christians have suffered for years at the hands of these persecutors. Many have become orphans and widows. They are weary, grieving, some mentally broken with many feeling forgotten by the international community. They’re barely surviving with little food, shelter, medical supplies or treatment. Deplorable conditions and lack of hygiene in refugee camps make them susceptible to illness and disease. A large number are fearful in ‘designated camps’, further persecuted and pressured to convert to Islam. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable. Thousands find themselves fleeing what they thought would be a safe place of refuge. Many claim they’d rather live in the bush then in these camps. They are grateful when able to find places of safety among other Christians.
Voice of the Persecuted – Project 13:3 Nigeria
In the camp we are aiding, the people are struggling. Many in the camp had resided in one of the hardest hit areas by the Boko Haram. Their villages are either burned to the ground, or not safe and they cannot go back home. Many are so thin, hungry, sick or at risk of becoming ill, and newborns who’ve not yet been seen by a doctor. There is an urgent need for food, medication, clothing, and beddings.”
We are praying with your help to continue to get the needed medical and nutritional needs to these families. There is no other choice but for them to live under the extremely harsh conditions of the camp. It has also been determined to prevent further cases of disease, such as Typhoid, a clean water well must be constructed. We have agreed to be a part of this much needed project and plans have already begun.
We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on them. They have been so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through your support and they keep you in their prayers.
We cannot forget or give up on them. These dear ones are in dire need of our compassion and support. Is God calling you to be His vessel in Nigeria? Is the Lord is burdening your heart for them? To shine God’s love and comfort over these families, our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus?
Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
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