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Persecution Watch: Nigerian Christians Under Intense Persecution

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, June 16, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Nigeria Population: 2.1 billion, Christians 98 million

At least 896 civilians have been killed in violent attacks in Nigeria during the first three months of 2022. This, according to Open Doors, includes hundreds of Christians who were murdered because of their faith. 

This June, on Pentecost, a deadly church attack with 50 Christians killed. In Late May, a church attack killed more than 30 Christians.

This means: Parents losing a child(s); Children losing father/mother. Husbands, wives losing their spouses. Grandparents being killed or losing loved ones, and so on, impacts so many more people.

  1. Christian persecution is concentrated in Nigeria’s northern and middle states.

In Nigeria’s northern states, Islam is the majority religion and many of the rules of Shari’ah law have been adopted by the local and state governments. Christians in the northern states must abide by these laws. The USCIRF’s 2021 Annual Report, states that “religious police, which are sometimes state funded, are also used to enforce Shari’ah, often focusing on family issues and ‘moral’ behavior.”

In Nigeria’s Middle Belt, conflicts have escalated between Christian farmers and the Fulani, nomadic Muslim herders, causing many Christian farmers to lose their land and their lives. The southern states being majority Christian

2. Jihadist groups, such as Boko Haram, Fulani militants, and ISWAP (Islamic State’s West African Province), are responsible for much of the Christian persecution.

Islamic extremists in Nigeria have been afflicting locals for years. According to the USCIRF’s report, “Since 2009, Boko Haram has inflicted mass terror on civilians, killing at least 37,000 Nigerians, kidnapping thousands, and displacing more than two million.”

These extremists are targeting Christian farmers and civilians, especially those who have converted to Christianity from Islam. Many Christians, who have been displaced by Islamic extremists, live in camps for internally displaced persons (IDP), which are run by the Nigerian military.

3. More Christians were killed between January 2021 and April 2021 than the total number of Christians killed in 2019

4. Over 2,200 Christians were abducted in the first four months of 2021.

In addition to the 1,470 Christians killed in Nigeria, at least 2,200 Christians were abducted by these same jihadist groups between January and April of 2021. Intersociety states that 220 of the Christians abducted are believed to have been killed.

5. Women and girls are often forced to marry Muslim men.

In Nigeria’s Muslim-controlled northern regions, Christian women and under-aged girls are often forced to convert from Christianity and marry Muslim men. These marriages are either forced by the local government, as detailed by Intersociety, or by Islamic extremist groups like Boko Haram. Specifically, according to a report from the U.S. State Department, “those women and girls [abducted by Boko Haram] were subjected to forced marriage and sexual abuse, including rape and sexual slavery.”

6. Christians in Nigeria are overlooked in the distribution of COVID-19 relief supplies.

An article from Open Doors USA describes, “Believers from towns in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna State, including Ungwan Boro, Sabon Tasha, Barnawa and Naraye, report they received six times smaller rations from the state than Muslim families.” Many displaced Christians live in overcrowded camps for internally displaced persons, making them vulnerable to both COVID and further attacks from Islamic extremist groups. According to the USCIRF’s report, these camps have “been accused of human rights violations against civilians.”

Prayer Points

  • Cry out to the Lord that He will convict President Buhari and His staff for ignoring the needs of their Christians citizens.
  • 2021 was dominated by reports of increased lawlessness. Please pray that President Buhari and state governors will diligently and transparently work to find lasting solutions to the deepening security crisis in northern Nigeria.
  • Pray for healing and hope as the level of trauma among Christians is reaching crisis levels, men are killed, and survivors are left in despondency over the future. Pray for healing and hope.
  • Pray that the Lord will continue to strengthen their faith and that Christians and remain joyful under suffering.
  •  Pray that the Lord that believer will continue to be able to provide a reason to anyone that asks for the hope that is in them.
  • Pray that NGOs working in the country will bear fruit. Pray for continued protection and wisdom for our partners who must travel and risk attack and/or abduction. Pray that their work will strengthen the church in Nigeria and restore hope.
  • Pray that the Lord will stretch out His hand of protection over girls and women to keep them safe from forced marriages, rape, abduction, and slavery.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will show ways for believers to find and support each other in their difficult walk of faith.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will blind, confuse, and distract the militant groups such as Boko Haram when they plan and go out to persecute Christians.
  • Pray for the Christians who are rebuilding after an attack, that God will encourage, protect and provide.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will touch the hearts of the militant groups who attack Christians, as only He can.
  • Pray for pastors and elders that the Lord will strengthen them, not become discouraged as they minister to the broken hearted.
  • Pray the Lord will thwart the efforts of the anti-Christian militants and government officials to destabilize His church. That the gates of hell will not prevail. That the Lord Jesus Christ will greatly grow His church.

Again, we want to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Terrorists Gun Down, Bomb Worshippers in Southwest Nigeria

Nigeria, (Morning Star News) – Terrorists launched a gun and bomb attack at the end of a Catholic Mass in southwest Nigeria on Sunday (June 5), killing an estimated 70 worshippers, sources said.

The terrorists attacked the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo state, at about 9 a.m., church leaders and residents told Morning Star News in text messages shortly after the attack.

A priest at the church, the Rev. Andrew Abayomi, told Morning Star News that as the worship service was coming to an end, the terrorists threw explosive devices on the church building and shot at worshippers.

“We were in worship Mass when the terrorists attacked us. They shot at the congregation while breaking into the church by throwing Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) at the church building,” Abayomi said. “Some of us hid inside the church as they shot randomly at us. This lasted for about 20 minutes before they retreated.”

He said it was difficult to give details about the number killed and injured, as leaders were focusing on transferring the wounded to hospitals. Owo legislative representative Adelegbe Timileyin told the AP that another priest at the church was abducted in the attack.

Among other Owo residents, Loye Owolemi, said about 70 worshipers were shot dead and others abducted wheno terrorists attacked the church service. 

“Today is a black day in Owo town in Ondo state, as about 70 Christians were killed during an attack on a Catholic Church,” another Owo resident, Augustine Aluko, told Morning Star News. “The Christian victims were killed as they were in worship service.”

Ondo Gov. Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, said it was a “black Sunday” in Owo.

“Our hearts are heavy. Our peace and tranquility have been attacked by the enemies of the people,” Akeredolu said in press statement. “This is a personal loss, an attack on our dear state…I am shocked to say the least. Nevertheless, we shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay. We shall never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in our resolves to rid our state of criminals.”

While no one immediately took responsibility for the assault, predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen were suspected. They have committed kidnapping and killings primarily in northern Nigeria but have been increasingly active in otherwise peaceful Ondo state, prompting the state government to implement recent restrictions on grazing.

Adeyemi Olayemi, a lawmaker in Ondo, told reporters that Fulani terrorists were suspected as they were likely retaliating for grazing restrictions implemented in response to an uptick in kidnappings in the state.

“We have enjoyed improved security since herdsmen were driven away from our forests by this administration,” Olayemi reportedly said. “This is a reprisal attack to send a diabolical message to the governor.”

Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, condemned the attack.

“No matter what, this country shall never give in to evil and wicked people, and darkness will never overcome light,” Buhari said. “Nigeria will eventually win.”

Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many different lineages who do not hold extremist views, but some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report.

“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.

Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are inspired by their desire to forcefully take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam as desertification has made it difficult for them to sustain their herds.

Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith last year (Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021) at 4,650, up from 3,530 the previous year, according to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List report. The number of kidnapped Christians was also highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the previous year, according to the WWL report.

Nigeria trailed only China in the number of churches attacked, with 470 cases, according to the report.

In the 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to seventh place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 9 the previous year.

Persecution Watch: Violence continues in Nigeria

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday May 17, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Praise to God for a Living Hope

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9

Dear Prayer Warriors, we will continue to pray for Nigeria tonight.

The relentless persecution of Nigerian Christians continues. Please read this report highlighting some of the recent attacks carried out in the last month.

Christian Student in Sokoto, Nigeria Stoned to Death

Kidnapped Priest in Kaduna, Nigeria Killed by Captors

At Least Eight Slain in Attack on Christian Area of Nigeria

Christians Killed as ISWAP Expands to Taraba State, Nigeria

Herdsmen and Others Kill 18 Christians in Northern Nigeria

Churches, shops damaged as Muslims demand release of suspected killers of Christian student. –

Read latest report Rioters Attack Christian Sites over Arrests in Sokoto, Nigeria

We are continuing to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord:

Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped in February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.

Leah Sharibu prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Sadly, today (May 14) will be another birthday that Leah will spend in captivity. Pray for her release.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.

Anita a Christian convert, facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran for his release and his family as their persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

The Lord’s servant,

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Rioters Attack Christian Sites over Arrests in Sokoto, Nigeria

College student Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu was stoned to death in Sokoto, Nigeria on May 12, 2022. (Facebook)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Rioters upset over the arrest of two Muslims in connection with the killing of a Christian college student in Sokoto, Nigeria attacked three church buildings and looted and damaged Christian-owned shops on Saturday (May 14), sources said.

Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu, a 200-level student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, the capital of Sokoto state, was beaten, stoned to death and her body set on fire on Thursday (May 12) after she was falsely accused of blaspheming the prophet of Islam because she had refused to date a Muslim, sources said.

Following the arrest of two Muslim suspects, Muslim rioters started bonfires and damaged the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral, St. Kevin’s Catholic Church and an Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) building in Sokoto, area residents said. Yakubu was a member of the ECWA church in her native Tungan Magajiya town, Rijau County in Niger state.

Area Muslims demanding the release of the two suspects assembled in strategic areas of the city and then marched to the palace of the sultan of Sokoto, leader of Nigeria’s Muslims, demanding the release of the two Muslims suspected of being behind the killing of Yakubu, residents said.

“Hundreds of Muslims here in Sokoto this morning converged at various points in the city to protest the arrest of two Muslims who were involved in the killing of Deborah, the Christian student of Shehu Shagari College of Education,” area resident Angela Anthony said in a text message. “In spite of efforts by the police and other security agencies to prevent them from becoming violent in their protest, these Muslims still succeeded in attacking and destroying two churches, the Catholic Cathedral and the ECWA church in Sokoto.”

Sokoto resident Precious Arigu requested prayer.

“So far, two churches [were damaged] and dozens of shops belonging to Christians have been looted and then destroyed by these Muslims,” Arigu said. “Please be in prayers for those of us who are Christians living in Sokoto.”

The Rev. Christopher Omotosho, Sokoto Diocese spokesman, said the protestors also shattered the windows of the diocese’s Bishop Lawton Secretariat and vandalized a bus parked on the premises. They also attacked the diocese’s Bakhita Centre on Aliyu Jodi Road and set a bus there on fire, Omotosho said .

“St. Kevin’s Catholic Church, Gidan Dere, Eastern By-pass, was also attacked and partly burnt,” he said. “Windows of the new hospital complex under construction on the same premises were shattered.”

Police reportedly have begun searching for others who appeared in a video-recording of the murder that appeared on social media.

Some of the rioters upset with the sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, for condemning the killing surrounded his palace shouting the jihadist slogan, “Allahu Akbar [God is greater],” an area resident told Agence France-Presse (AFP). When the rioters refused to leave, police and soldiers hurled teargas canisters and fired into the air to disperse them, AFP quoted the resident as saying.

The mob then tried to loot shops owned by Christians but were dispersed by security patrol teams, another resident told AFP.

Sokoto Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal on Saturday (May 14) declared a 24-hour curfew in the city. The Rev. Stephen Baba Panya, president of the ECWA, called on the governor to ensure justice.

“The brutal killing and burning of Deborah by some misguided Muslim students is nothing short of overt criminality which we at the ECWA roundly condemn,” Pastor Panya said. “We therefore call on the Sokoto state government under the leadership of His Excellency, Aminu Tambuwal, to be deliberate in ensuring that no step is left to ensure that justice is not only seen to be done, but that it is indeed done.”

He said the ECWA also called on President Mohammadu Buhari to ensure justice.

“Deborah may be just one young girl whose precious life and ambition has been cruelly cut short, but the entire world is watching, waiting and crying out for justice here on earth, otherwise, in heaven,” Pastor Panya said. “In this midnight hour of our nation, at this very trying and agonizing moment, our hearts go out to the parents, siblings and entire family of Miss Deborah and all that are grieving her death; we encourage you to take solace in the fact that no matter how it  may look, Deborah’s martyrdom shall never be in vain. Light will ever prevail over the forces of darkness.”

The Rev. Joseph Daramola, general secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said in a statement that the inability of the Nigerian government to prosecute Muslims who have killed Christians over false claims of blasphemy have fueled such criminal acts.

“It is the failure of the security agencies and the government to rise up to such criminalities in the past that gave birth to terrorists and bandits,” Pastor Daramola said. “And as long as the state fails to bring these beasts and criminals amidst us to book, so also the society will continue to be their killing fields.”

Acknowledging that the sultan of Sokoto condemned the crime and called on security agencies to bring the perpetrators to justice, Pastor Daramola called on all “teachers and preachers of religious intolerance, extremism and terrorism to repent before the wrath of God descends on them if the state fails to bring them to book.”

“Killing in the name of blasphemy is ungodly, satanic, foolish, reprehensible, and totally unacceptable,” he said. “This is not a Stone Age, and Nigeria is not a Banana republic. Nigeria remains a non-religious state where no religion is supreme to the other. We acknowledge and commend the restraint of the Christian students of the college who refused to embrace reprisal attacks on those who murdered their colleague. It is our prayer that those vampires in religious garments will not push the country to a religious war.”

Herdsmen Kill 36 Christians

In central Nigeria’s Benue state, Fulani herdsmen suspected of collaborating with Muslim extremist terrorists killed an estimated 36 Christians in multiple attacks last month, sources said.

In Tarka County, about 15 Christians were killed in an attack on Tiortyu village at 2 a.m. on April 12 that killed a grandfather and wounded his young granddaughter, the girl’s mother, Faith Iorshie, told Morning Star News by phone.

“About 15 Christians were killed when the Fulani terrorists attacked our village, Tiortyu,” Iorshie said. “I escaped the attack, but grandpa took my 2-year-old daughter and tried escaping with her and was shot and killed while my daughter was shot and wounded. We’re currently in a hospital where she’s being treated. Pray with us for God to save her life.”

Iorshie, 25, said she and her family are members of the Universal Reformed Christian Church (NKST in Nigeria) in her village.

The attacks in Logo, Kwande, Tarka and Guma counties added to the recent displacement of about 2 million people in Benue state and the bordering areas of Nasarawa and Taraba states. The displaced took refuge in camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) across Benue state, government officials said.

Two Christians were also killed in Logo County, 10 were killed in Kwande County and 9 in Guma County, sources said. In Logo, Muslim Fulani herdsmen on April 29 attacked Tse Tune, killing two Christians who were working on their farms, said Nathaniel Ikyur, spokesman for the Benue governor’s office.

“The two Christians killed by the bandits are Terkende Injarwua and Mfaiga Ukor,” Ikyur said in a statement. “Their corpses have been evacuated from their farms and buried.”

In Kwande County, herdsmen attacked Waya, Jato-Aka, and Turan the night of April 21, killing 10 Christians, residents said. Lawrence Akerigba identified some of those killed as Gbaeren Orsoo, Terdoo Tsega, Bemdoo Tsega, Abacha Tsega, Terkaa Tsega, Aôndoaseer Tyov, Iorhen Atim and Aôndowase Igba.

Tartor Chianson, a council official of the country, confirmed the attack.

“Ten Christians were killed during the attack on three communities in Kwande Local Government Area,” Chianson said. “The corpses of those killed have been recovered and taken to Jato Aka Hospital Mortuary.”

In Guma County, Fulani herdsmen the night of April 11 killed nine Christians, sources said.

Benue state Gov. Samuel Ortom said officials have called for help without any answer.

“It is becoming increasingly glaring every day that Christians are now endangered species in Nigeria,” he said in a statement. “We have cried for help against these Muslim invaders, but nothing is forthcoming. We are left alone, and it looks like it is a deliberate strategy to eliminate us because of our Christian faith.”

Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith last year (Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021) at 4,650, up from 3,530 the previous year, according to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List report. The number of kidnapped Christians was also highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the previous year, according to the WWL report.

Nigeria trailed only China in the number of churches attacked, with 470 cases, according to the report.

In the 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to seventh place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 9 the previous year.

Urgent Prayer Conference Call for Nigeria

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Saturday, May 14, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Dear Prayer Warriors, our dear sister, Mariam Ibraheem, will be joining us on the call, tonight. 

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” Matthew 24:9

The relentless persecution of Nigerian Christians continues. Please read this report highlighting some of the recent attacks carried out in the last month.

Christian Student in Sokoto, Nigeria Stoned to Death

Kidnapped Priest in Kaduna, Nigeria Killed by Captors

At Least Eight Slain in Attack on Christian Area of Nigeria

Christians Killed as ISWAP Expands to Taraba State, Nigeria

Herdsmen and Others Kill 18 Christians in Northern Nigeria

We are continuing to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord

Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped in February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.

Leah Sharibu prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Sadly, today (May 14) will be another birthday that Leah will spend in captivity. Pray for her release.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.

Anita a Christian convert, facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran for his release and his family as their persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

The Lord’s servant,

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

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What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Relentless Persecution of Nigerian Christians

Last year more Nigerian Christians were killed for their faith in Christ than any other nation. Between Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021 at 4,650, up from 3,530 the previous year, according to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List report. The number of kidnapped Christians was also highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the previous year, according to the WWL report.

Recent reports

Christian Student in Sokoto, Nigeria Stoned to Death

 A Christian student stoned to death at a college in northwest Nigeria on Thursday (May 12) was falsely accused of blaspheming the prophet of Islam because she had refused to date a Muslim, sources said.

Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu, a 200-level student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, the capital of Sokoto state, was beaten, stoned to death and her body set on fire, area residents said; a video showing the attack reportedly appeared on social media on Thursday (May 12). In the video, an unidentified man reportedly rages in the Hausa language that he killed Yakubu and set her body on fire.

Yakubu, a member of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in her native Tungan Magajiya town, Rijau County in Niger state, was falsely accused of blaspheming Muhammad by a Muslim whose advances she had refused, said David Ayuba Azzaman, senior pastor at The King Worship Chapel and Ministries, Inc. in Kaduna city. Read more

Kidnapped Priest in Kaduna, Nigeria Killed by Captors

A Roman Catholic priest was among 45 Christians abducted by Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists who raided at least six villages in Niger state in early March in the city of Kaduna, in northern Nigeria. He was killed around April 18-20, according to church officials.

The Rev. Joseph Aketeh Bako, parish priest of St. John’s Catholic Church, was kidnapped at about 1 a.m. on March 8 from his home at the church premises in the Kudenda area of Kaduna city, Kaduna state, in a raid that killed a security guard. The Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Kaduna, Christian Okewu Emmanuel, released a statement on Wednesday (May 11) stating that the captors killed Bako, and that information about his death was withheld until investigations could verify it. Read more

Children among 29 Christians Killed in Plateau State, Nigeria

Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria killed eight Christians in Bassa county, Plateau state on Thursday (May 5), after slaughtering at least 21 others in another area of the county in April, sources said.

At least two children were among those killed in the Thursday night attack on Cinke and Zarama villages in Kwall District, Bassa County, and the herdsmen also wounded two Christians, a spokesman for the predominantly Christian, ethnic Rigwe said.

“The attack is no doubt the continuous perpetration of terror and mayhem in Rigwe land in an attempt to forcefully eject the peace-loving Rigwe people from their ancestral land, as well as complete annihilation of the entire tribe,” Davidson Malison of the Irigwe Development Association (IDA), said in a press statement. “The attacks have become a daily affair as the marauders have assumed [they are] an ‘immuned’ set of people and are feeling untouchable, daring the authorities concerned.” Read more

At Least Eight Slain in Attack on Christian Area of Nigeria

Homes burned down in assault by Islamic extremists. At least eight people were killed in an attack on Tuesday evening (May 3) by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists on a predominantly Christian village in northeastern Nigeria, sources said.

In the latest of several attacks by the Islamic extremists on Christian communities in Chibok County, Borno state, ISWAP militants stormed Kautikari town after 6 p.m., not only shooting people dead but looting properties and destroying many homes, area residents said.

“Kautikari community is right now being attacked by ISWAP (Boko Haram) terrorists,” area resident Musa Nkeki told Morning Star News in a text message. “Your prayer is urgently needed for God’s intervention.” Read more

Christians Killed as ISWAP Expands to Taraba State, Nigeria

At least 19 slain in two states. Terrorism by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) stretched into Taraba state, Nigeria for the first time on April 19, killing six Christians, sources said.

After an explosion killed the six Christians and wounded more than a dozen others at Christian-owned market where alcohol was served in Isware, Ardo Kola County, ISWAP released a statement on a telegram messaging channel asserting that it had detonated the explosive at “a gathering of infidel Christians,” according to local news reports.

ISWAP, an offshoot of Boko Haram, described its operatives as “soldiers of the caliphate in central Nigeria.”

Police spokesman Abdullahi Usman said in an April 20 statement that six persons were killed, and that more than a dozen wounded people were receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo. Read more

Herdsmen and Others Kill 18 Christians in Northern Nigeria

Assailants burn down 92 homes. Fulani herdsmen and others on Tuesday night (April 26) attacked four villages in Kaduna state, Nigeria, killing 18 Christians and burning down 92 houses, sources said.

The killings took place in three of the four villages. In Kauru County, the assailants killed 11 Christians in Ungwan Rimi village, six in Ungwan Magaji village and one at Kitakum village, said Abel Habila Adamu, president of the Chawai Development Association (CDA), in a press statement.

“Despite the ongoing peace talks between the Fulani herdsmen and the Christians of host communities in Tsam Chiefdom by relevant stakeholders, international organizations and NGOs, yet peace seems to be elusive as there are continuous attacks on the peace-loving people of Ungwan, Rimi Ungwan Magaji and Kitagum communities, all in Kamaru ward of Tsam Chiefdom, Kauru LGA, Kaduna state,” Adamu said.

He said the attacks injured seven Chritians and destroyed 92 homes. Read more

VOP Note: Please keep our Nigerian brothers and sisters in your prayers. Pray also for those who do not know Christ.

Terrorists Kill 50 Christians and Abduct 100, including Priest

The Rev. Felix Fidson Zakari, Catholic priest abducted in Fulani herdsmen attack in Kaduna state, Nigeria on March 24, 2022. (Catholic Diocese of Zaria)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen on Thursday (March 24) killed an estimated 50 Christians and abducted a Catholic priest in attacks on communities in an area of Kaduna state, Nigeria, area sources said.

In late-night attacks on 10 predominantly Christian communities of Giwa County, herdsmen and others also took about 100 people captive and burned down a church building, area residents said.

“They also burned houses, stores and killed animals,” resident Nuhu Musa told Morning Star News by text message. “These attacks continued and lasted up to the morning of Friday, 25 March. They didn’t allow even the dead bodies to be buried, as they shot at mourners and those who returned to the villages to conduct funerals for those killed.”

Women and children were among those killed, Musa said. The burned church building was located in Zangon Tama village, and the assailants also raided the villages of Unguwar Kaya Fatika, Barebari, Dillalai, Unguwar Bakko, Gidan Alhajin Kadi, Kadanya and Durumi, he said.

“Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna state is bleeding,” Musa said.

Samuel Aruwan, commissioner in Kaduna state’s Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, said initial reports showed the assailants had attacked the villages of Dillalai, Barebari, Dokan Alhaji Ya’u, Durumi, Kaya and Fatika.

The Catholic priest, the Rev. Felix Fidson Zakari of St. Ann’s Catholic Church, was taken away at gunpoint from Zangon Tama village along with others, four area residents said. The residents and a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Zaria requested prayer for the abducted priest.

Among other villagers, Julius Agbado, a member of the Catholic church, said, “Please kindly pray for the safe release of Rev. Fr. Felix Fidson Zakari, a priest of St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Zangon Tama, under the Catholic Diocese of Zaria, who was kidnapped after armed herdsmen and terrorists attacked Zangon Tama.”

Another area resident, Muazu Gogi, lamented the government’s failure to protect villagers against such attacks, which have become commonplace in Kaduna state.

“Pray for us to survive these attacks by herdsmen and bandits,” Gogi said. “These herdsmen and bandits attacked several villages in Giwa Local Government Area and killed more than 50 persons. The government is aware about the killings and destructions by these Fulani terrorists and armed bandits but is unable to protect the people.”

Killings in Benue State

In Benue state, Fulani herdsmen early Wednesday (March 23) killed three Christians, following the slaughter of more than 20 people in predominantly Christian areas of the state earlier in the month, sources said.

Residents of predominantly Christian Yoli village, in Katsina-Ala County, said the Fulani attacked at about 2 a.m. and also wounded a dozen people, forcing many to flee their homes.

“The Fulani, who had guns and weapons like machetes, attacked Christians in one of our villages, Yoyo community in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area,” Comfort Angula told Morning Star News in a text message. “They killed three members of the community, and many were forced to flee the village.”

Nicholas Kahiorga said the three Christians slain were members of the Universal Reformed Christian Church (NKST in Nigeria) in the village.

Alfred Atera, local council official of Katsina-Ala Local Government Area, confirmed the killing of the three Christians in a statement on Thursday (March 24).

The killings follow similar herdsmen attacks this month in Benue state. In Guma County, herdsmen on March 10-12 attacked Ahentse village, killing five Christians on March 12, local residents said.

On March 10 in Iye village, herdsmen killed eight Christians, and on the same day in Udeyen village, six more were killed, area residents said. Prior to the attacks, residents said they received threatening letters from the herdsmen demanding that they leave the villages or be killed. The armed herdsmen who subsequently attacked rode motorcycles, they added.

Caleb Aba, Guma council chairman, cited a lower figure, saying eight Christians were killed in attacks on Iye and Udeyen.

“The attacks of Thursday, 10 March, were carried out late at night while the villagers were sleeping,” Aba said. “In both attacks, eight Christians were killed by the herdsmen.”

He identified some of the slain as Clement Tortiv, Enoch Utim, Terkimbi Kutaer, Mtaaega Tyogbea and Aondoaver Swende, and the wounded as Sunday Gaga and Torkwase Igbira.

Paul Hemba, a Benue state government spokesman, said six Christians were killed in Iye two were slain in Udeyen.

Benue Gov. Samuel Ortom said on March 14 that herdsmen killed more than 20 people the first two weeks of the month.

“In the last two weeks, more than 20 people have been killed by Fulani terrorists in unprovoked attacks in Guma, Logo and Gwer West, Agatu,” he said. “This has led to the growing number of IDPs [Interntally Displaced People] in Benue. As I speak, more than 1.5 million people are still living in poor shanties as shelter. They have nowhere to go to.”

A community leader said in Gwer West County on March 15 said that since 2011 herdsmen have killed 390 people in the area and wounded 37. Daniel Abomste said the attacks took place in the districts of Sengey, Mbachohon, Gbaange/Tongov, Tyoughatee and Saghev/Ukusu.

“Christians in these areas have been displaced by the herdsmen attacks and forced to flee their homes,” Abomste said.

Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many different lineages who do not hold extremist views, but some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report.

“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.

Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are inspired by their desire to forcefully take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam as desertification has made it difficult for them to sustain their herds.

Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith last year (Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021) at 4,650, up from 3,530 the previous year, according to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List report. The number of kidnapped Christians was also highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the previous year, according to the WWL report.

Nigeria trailed only China in the number of churches attacked, with 470 cases, according to the report.

In the 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to seventh place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 9 the previous year.

The Ignored Pandemic: 360 Million Christians Persecuted Worldwide

(by Raymond Ibrahim) The year 2021 “saw the worst persecution of Christians in history”—with an average of 16 Christians butchered for their faith every single day.

This is according to the World Watch List-2022 (WWL), which was recently published by the international humanitarian organization, Open Doors.  The report ranks the top 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted for their faith. Annually published and released at the beginning of each year, the WWL uses data from field workers and external experts to quantify and analyze persecution worldwide.

According to the WWL-2022 (covering from Oct. 1, 2020 – Sept. 30, 2021), “over 360 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith—a rise of 20 million from last year. The number represents one in seven Christians worldwide. This year records the highest levels of persecution since the first list was published 29 years ago…”

For this same reporting period, 5,898 Christians were murdered “for their faith,” a number representing a 24% increase from 2021 (when only 4,761 Christians were killed).  Additionally, “6,175 believers [were] detained without trial, arrested, sentenced or imprisoned,” and 3,829 Christians were abducted.

Perhaps even more reflective of the hate for Christianity, 5,110 churches and other inanimate Christian buildings (schools, monasteries, etc.), were attacked and profaned.

Crunching these numbers into daily averages, the above statistics mean that every single day around the world, more than 16 Christians were murdered for their faith; 27 were either illegally arrested and imprisoned by non-Christian authorities, or abducted by non-Christian actors; and 14 churches were destroyed or desecrated.

For the first time since these WWL reports were published, Afghanistan, which for years was usually ranked the #2 worst nation (following North Korea) shot up to the #1 spot, meaning “Afghanistan is now the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian.”  Additionally,

Read full report at Gatestone Institute here

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