(Voice of the Persecuted) Boko Haram, like ISIS, is seeking to establish an independent Islamic state in Nigeria. It’s been a year since the fishing town of Baga in northern Nigeria was targeted in the deadliest massacre in the history of Boko Haram. The Nigerian government claimed security forces quickly responded and even conducted air strikes against the militants who had killed around 2,000 people in the attack. Most attacks go virtually unnoticed outside Nigeria, but this attack garnered international media attention after it claimed so many lives.
If you don’t recall the attack, it may be due to the coverage of attacks in Paris at the the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, a year ago. Armed gunmen killed 11 people and injured 11 others in the building. After leaving, they killed a French National Police officer outside the building. Several related attacks followed in the Île-de-France region, where a further five were killed and 11 wounded. For weeks, the attacks in France dominated headlines and televised news reports. On 11 January, about two million people, including more than 40 world leaders, met in Paris for a rally of national unity, and 3.7 million people joined demonstrations across France. The phrase Je suis Charlie has become a common slogan of support at the rallies and in social media. But compared to the coverage and solidarity with Paris, Baga was barely a whisper.
More than two million people have been internally displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency, some report the number is higher. Aid reaching the victims is falling way short compared to the scale of the crisis. We can’t continue to ignore them any longer. Our silence as added to the acute suffering. We are the Church, we must do more when others will not.
Villagers recalled the aftermath of the attack—Hundreds of bodies, too many to count and scattered in the bush. There were even reports that some of the badly injured were left in the bush to die next to the dead. The majority of victims were women, children and the elderly too slow to escape the militants, common in many attacks across the northeast.
Baga was once a bustling trading center of 200,000 people. Today, approx. 700 remain and barely surviving in a place still under the threat of Boko Haram. Other villages have also remain desolate, as the insurgents lie in wait to ambush those who pass through or plan attacks on vulnerable villages.
During the Presidential campaigns, the now elected President Buhari said, “This scourge, this season of death must be brought to a complete stop.” He had promised Boko Haram would be eliminated by Dec 2015. Last month, the Minister of Information and Culture announced Buhari’s deadline to wipe out the militants had been met. Analysts and civilians are distressed by this claim. But recent attacks tell otherwise and they fear attacks will likely continue.
Despite the ongoing Boko Haram threat, President Buhari said last week, “In 2016, the return of the IDPs (internal refugees) will start in earnest. They will return to their communities to meet destroyed schools and other infrastructure which have to be rebuilt. We will welcome all the help we can get to assist the returnees.”
Experts warn Nigeria will be risking the lives of millions of displaced civilians by returning them to communities still extremely vulnerable to attack. Boko Haram is not defeated and still remains a deadly threat. One alarmed victim said,
Ongoing for 6 years, many no longer believe the government has the will or ability to end the murderous rampage of the Boko Haram. They’re in constant prayer and relying on God to rescue them. The distraught victim added, “God will help us.”
Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) is aiding an IDP camp caring for Christians who have faced incredible persecution. Nearly every person has lost loved ones at the hands of Boko Haram militants. The road ahead is long, both physically and emotionally.
Much help is needed to continue covering basic needs for persecuted families, orphans and widows in the camp, approx. 400 people. Your gifts make it possible to get food, clothing, medical needs/care and fresh water to the suffering. These brothers and sisters need our compassion. They are thankful for any help, so encouraged they’re not forgotten. Can you help these dear ones, today?
Well Project UPDATE:
We had recently asked for prayers concerning the construction of a temporary well to bring clean water to the camp. They have experienced an outbreak of Cholera coming from an overused, local water source. The ground was dry and very difficult. The engineers faced a lot of challenges about the location to drill the borehole, the first drilling collapsed. But now we’re in good shape, the well is nearly completed! A heartfelt thanks to all of you who prayed and gave for this project to allow us to aid in the construction of this much needed well.
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!
You may also send your gift to:
2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183