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Nigeria – Catholic priest brutally killed

Fr. John Gbakaan, a priest of the diocese of Minna, Nigeria. (Public domain via CNA)

(Agenzia Fides) – Fr. John Gbakaan, parish priest of the Saint Anthony Church in Gulu, in the diocese of Minna, was kidnapped and murdered on January 15 along the road from Lambata to Lapai in the state of Niger. This was confirmed yesterday, Sunday, January 17th, by the parish priest of the parish of St. Teresa in Madala, Fr. John Jatau, who announced that Fr. Gbakaan, together with his brother and another priest, had gone to Makurdi in the state of Benue on January 14th to visit his mother.

On January 15, the priest and his brother were ambushed by armed men on their way back along the road from Lambata to Lapai. The attack took place around 9 p.m. near the village of Tufa. The two brothers were abducted by armed men who turned to the diocese of Minna with a ransom demand on Saturday, January 16. Initially, the kidnappers demanded a sum of thirty million naira, which they later reduced to five million naira.

In the meantime, however, the priest’s lifeless body was found near the site of the kidnapping. Father Gbakaan was allegedly executed with a machete in such a brutal manner that identification was hardly possible. The Toyota Venza that the priest was traveling in was also found in the bush. There is still no news of his brother, who is said to be still in the hands of the kidnappers.

The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, at the national level, has asked the Federal Government to put an end to the abduction and killing of religious leaders by bandits in the country. CAN’s Vice Chairman (Northern region), Rev. John Hayab, who made the call in a chat with Vanguard while reacting to the killing of a priest of the Minna Catholic diocese, Fr. John Gbakaan Yaji during the weekend, described the killing of the Catholic priest as ‘shocking and painful’, stating that insecurity in the North had assumed a more alarming dimension.

“We received the news of the kidnapped and killing of our dear Rev Father John with great shock and pains”, said Rev. Hayab. “Today in Northern Nigeria many people are living in fear and many young people are afraid to become pastors because pastors lives are in great danger”. “When bandits or kidnappers realised that their victim is a priest or a pastor it seems a violent spirit do take over their heart to demand more ransom and in some cases go to the extent of killing the victim”, he emphasized on behalf of the Association of Christian Denominations. “We are simply pleading with the Federal Government and all security agencies to do whatever it will take to bring this evil to a stop”.

Muslim Extremists Rape Pastor in Eastern Uganda, Sources Say

(Morning Star News) – Muslim extremists raped a church pastor on Dec. 21 in eastern Uganda, sources said.

The female pastor, whose identity is withheld for her protection, was returning to her home in Kapyani, Kibuku District, from Christmas preparations at her church site at about 7 p.m. when someone near the swamps of Lake Kalyango asked her for help, she said.

“When I stopped,” the 50-year-old pastor told Morning Star News, “I was surprised to see people coming from the bush, and one of them shouted in the Arabic language, ‘Allah is greater – we have warned you several times to stop converting Muslims to Christianity. Today we shall teach you a lesson that you will not forget.’”

One of the assailants pulled out a handkerchief and covered her mouth, and she lost consciousness, she said. When she regained consciousness three hours later, she saw a motorcycle headlamp and shouted for help.

“To my surprise, I realized that he was a son of my sister who was coming back home for Christmas,” she said. “He saw blood on my torn skirt. He could not stop tears rolling from his cheeks, crying and shouting for help, and he took me to a nearby clinic for medical treatment at Kasasira.”

Doctors treated the pastor and took several tests, she said.

“I hope these Muslim rapists have not infected me with deadly diseases. I forgive them,” said the mother of five who was widowed five years ago.

Her children reported the assault to the chairperson and police of central Kapyani, she said.

Two months before, she said, a Muslim neighbor had complained to her, telling her, “I am warning you not to come to our home. My children are now singing some Christian songs. I know soon they will come to your church. We as Muslims have no relations with infidels.”

A member of her church, unidentified for security reasons, said she is traumatized.

“Sometimes she is quiet for about one hour,” the member said. “Her doctor said she needs a trauma counselor; she is having severe headache, swelling at her neck and severe pain in her private parts.”

The congregation member said that with prayer she will recover and soon return to serving her church. The pastor’s son requested prayer and financial help for medical bills and trauma counseling.

“I am hurt,” the pastor said tearfully from her hospital bed to a Morning Star News contact on Christmas Eve. “I will miss Christmas celebration with my church members.”

The assault was the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another. Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

ISWAP Terrorists Execute Five Christians in Nigeria, Video Shows

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Islamic extremist terrorists who kidnapped 11 Christians in northeast Nigeria on Christmas Day have executed five of them, according to a video released by the Islamic State’s AMAQ News agency.

The 49-second video, dated Dec. 29, shows five armed members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) lining up behind five men dressed in orange robes who are kneeling with their hands tied behind them. Ordered in the Hausa language to state their names, each of the kneeling men in turn is heard saying their name and adding, “I’m a Christian.”

Morning Star News heard the names spoken as Uka Joseph, Sunday, Wilson, Joshua Maidugu and Garba Yusuf.

Speaking in the Hausa language common throughout northern Nigeria, one of the ISWAP militants then says,

“This is a warning to Christians in all parts of the world and those in Nigeria. We have not forgotten what you did to our brethren in Zangon Kataf town and other parts of Nigeria. Use the heads of these five of your brethren to continue with your ungodly celebrations.”

The five Christians are then shot to death.

The executioner’s citing of Zangon-Kataf appears to refer to ethnic clashes in the area in Kaduna state in 1992 over a proposal to relocate a market away from land granted to the Hausa people, who are primarily Muslim. Clashes broke out between them and the indigenous, predominantly Christian Atyap people, resulting in 60 deaths in February 1992 and 400 more in May 1992, with Hausa youths killing many Christians of various tribes in retaliation.

On Christmas Eve ISWAP terrorists began an attack on Garkida, Adamawa state, that local residents assumed was launched by Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group from which ISWAP broke off in 2016. Government and local sources said the Nigerian army repelled the attack, but as it continued into the wee hours of Christmas Day, the assailants were said to have killed six Christians and kidnapped 11 others.

Screenshot of video released by Islamic State showing execution of Christians in northeast Nigeria. (Morning Star News)

Morning Star News received messages from area residents on Wednesday (Dec. 30) asserting that six Christians were killed in Friday’s (Dec. 25) attack on Garkida, and that the Christians martyred in the video were among the 11 kidnapped.

Moses Abarshi, a Christian leader in northern Nigeria, notified Morning Star News that a Christian had told him that his brother and four other Christians had been executed for their faith.

“Please let us keep the family in our thoughts and prayers in this trying time,” Abarshi said by text message. “May the blood of these martyrs keep speaking for the gospel. May the church not be frightened and discouraged, in Jesus name!”

In the attack on Garkida town, ISWAP burned down homes, looted shops and stores, set fire to a hospital and took food from homes, area Christians said.

On July 22 a video was released showing terrorists believed to be members of ISWAP executing five men, with one militant saying it was warning to “all those being used by infidels to convert Muslims to Christianity.”

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 designated Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.

In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated ISWAP, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

On Jan. 30 Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. CSI issued the call in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’”

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.

Seven Christians Killed in Christmas Eve Attacks in Nigeria

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Islamic extremist militants killed seven Christians in Christmas Eve attacks in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, according to area residents, while two people were reportedly killed in neighboring Adamawa state.

Residents of the villages of Pemi and Debro, near Chibok, Borno state said the insurgents were members of Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, and that the militants burned a Church of the Brethren (EYN) building in Pemi. In addition, seven people were reportedly kidnapped, including a pastor.

Across the border in neighboring Adamawa state, residents of Garkida told Morning Star News that Boko Haram attacked at the same time on Dec. 24, but that Nigerian army forces repelled them. Adamawa Gov. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, however, released a statement on Christmas Day saying two civilians had been killed in the attack, including a 5-year-old boy, before soldiers drove the rebels away.

In Borno state, the jihadists began their attacks on predominantly Christian Pemi and Debro at about 6 p.m., area residents said.

“Seven Christians were killed at Pemi, and the church building of EYN was completely burned by them,” area resident Awiya Lawan told Morning Star News by text message. “Houses, cars and stores were burned down. The Boko Haram gunmen carried out the attacks for three hours before soldiers arrived at the area at 9 p.m.”

Peter Solomon, another resident of the area, also said that heavily armed Boko Haram rebels, who seek to establish sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria, killed seven Christians.

“The Boko Haram attackers destroyed the church building of EYN and looted foods from many houses before burning about 10 houses in Pemi, which is located about 20 kilometers [12 miles] away from Chibok town,” Solomon said

In Adamawa state, the attack by suspected Boko Haram militants forced Christians to halt Christmas preparations and flee into bushes to escape, area residents said.

“Garkida town in Adamawa state is under a massive attack,” area resident Joel Bahago said in a text message to Morning Star News. “Please pray for us, as this isn’t how we planned for Christmas, Lord.”

Another area resident, Rhoda Yadiwutuwa, said in a text message on Christmas Day that Nigeria’s armed forces had repelled the assailants but that most of the residents were still hiding in bushes and nearby hills.

“It is well with us people of Garkida, we shall hold our peace, because victory belongs to our God and Lord, Jesus Christ,” Yadiwutuwa said.

Markus Bulus wrote in a Christmas Day text that area resident were thankful.

“Whatever Boko Haram planned against us has failed,” Bulu said. “Whatever it is, we shall still celebrate Christmas. Jesus, we’re so grateful this day even with the bad experience we had last night. We have nothing to offer as our thanksgiving, but we offer our hearts in deep supplication to your majesty on this Christmas Day.”

Terror in Kaduna

In north-central Nigeria, a series of attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen across three counties of southern Kaduna state earlier this month killed 33 Christians, destroyed 18 homes and displaced more than 2,500 people, Christian leaders told Morning Star News.

On Dec. 17 in Zangon-Kataf County, the herdsmen killed at least 10 Christians in Goran Gan village and destroyed 18 homes, and on Dec. 21 they killed three others at Ungwan Jatau and Ungwan Gimba villages, area residents told Morning Star News in text messages.

Sule Tinat Bodam, general secretary of the Atyap Community Development Association and a Christian community leader in Zangon-Kataf, confirmed the attacks.

“On Dec. 17, the Gora Gan community was attacked by armed gunmen suspected to be Fulani militias on motorcycles,” Bodam said. “The attack left over seven people dead, and over 17 houses were burnt down. The Sheyin family was wiped out almost completely by the attackers.”

He identified those killed as Ayuba Sheyin, 69; his wife Jummai Sheyin, 55; their son Saviour Sheyin, 14; son Goodluck Sheyin, 11; daughter Patience Sheyin, 5; Peter Akau, 70; Joel Ishaya, 35; and Binta Musa Tauna, 85. In addition, 16-year-old Henry Jonathan was hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

“The Sheyin family lived just in front of the primary school where the military, meant to secure the village after previous attacks, are stationed,” Bodam said.

Luka Biniyat, spokesman for the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), added in a Dec. 21 press statement that three more corpses had been recovered, bringing the number of Christians killed in Gora Gan to at least 10.

SOKAPU executives visited a camp for Internally Displaced Persons in Zonkwa, Zangon-Kataf County, where 2,500 Christian women and children were taking refuge after raids by armed herdsmen, Biniyat said.

Also in Zangon-Kataf County on Dec. 19, herdsmen killed four Christians in four other villages: Ungwan Gaiya, Ungwan Gimba, Ungwan Makama and Apimbu, according to state Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs Commissioner Samuel Aruwan.

“The military confirmed that two houses were burned in the Apimbu attack,” Aruwan said.

In Chikun County, herdsmen on Tuesday (Dec. 22) killed seven Christians and wounded four in Gbaja village and killed two more Christians in Ungwan Gwaiva, area sources said.

In Kajuru County, herdsmen killed three Christians in Kujeni village on Tuesday (Dec. 22), sources said.

The Rev. Ali Buba Lamido, archbishop of Kaduna Province of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), issued a statement on Thursday (Dec. 24) expressing concern over kidnappings that have accompanied the killing.

“Kidnapping has become the order of the day as these kidnappers get into people’s houses and abduct them without any resistance or challenge from the security agents,” Lamido said. “Many people have been abducted, and a lot of millions of naira were paid as ransom. Those kidnapped were subjected to dehumanizing conditions and traumatizing experiences. Some family members of the those kidnapped were shot while trying to escape from the kidnappers.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for further investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

On Jan. 30 Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. CSI issued the call in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’”

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Ethiopia

 

09/08/2020 (Voice of the Persecuted) Ethiopia: Population: 110 million, Christian 66 million

Ethiopia is home to one of the oldest churches in the world. It is believed that the first people to convert to Christianity lived were brought to the faith by Matthew and Bartholomew, as well as the Ethiopian Eunuch who spoke with Phillip. The Ethiopian orthodox church was then founded in the 4th century as the country’s religion by it rulers. Despite this extremely old history, the church is coming under attack in recent days according to the Barnabus Fund. The report states that, “coordinated killings, targeting Christians from a wide range of ethnicities including Oromo Christians, began soon after the alleged assassination of a popular Oromo singer, Hachallu Hundessa. 500 Christians Killed in Ethiopia since June, the Report States

The persecution faced by Christians in Ethiopia often depends on where they live. For example, in urban areas and areas that are mainly Protestant, Christians who leave the Ethiopian Orthodox Church will face less serious consequences, although they may still face opposition from their families.

But in rural communities that are mainly made up of members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Christians who choose to be part of another denomination are often ostracized or even attacked.

In rural communities that are mainly Muslim, Christians are often denied access to communal resources or even attacked by extremists. Christians from Muslim backgrounds face pressure from their families and communities. There has been ongoing strife in the Oromo region of the country for the past several years, but the Barnabus fund says that the recent killing of these young Christians has been conducted by Islamic extremists. “The attackers are from the Oromo ethnic group, which has traditionally been Muslim, and are members of Qeerroo (meaning, “bachelors”), an Oromo male youth movement. In door-to-door attacks on Christian households the Qeerroo extremists arrived in cars and armed with guns, machetes, swords and spears, sought out and slaughtered Christians. Children were forced to witness their parents being brutally murdered with machetes and houses were burnt down, vandalized, or destroyed by the extremists. Billions of dollars of damage were caused to property.

PRAYER POINTS
  • Pray for Christian leaders to be elected to Government offices to protect the population from radical Islam.

 

  • Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia who are suffering at the hands of hateful and violent neighbors.

 

  • Pray that the Lord will equip the church to offer hope to Christians Converts from Islam who are ostracized, harassed, denied access to communal resources and often denied family rights.

 

  • Pray that the persecuted are ready to reach out with the gospel to their persecutors and to respond to persecution in a way that honors Christ.

 

  • Pray for a sense of unity among God’s people, that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church would stop oppressing evangelical believers and that a common sense of mission would take root among believers. [The Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) opposes the activities of evangelical Christians, whom they regard as followers of a Western religion threatening Ethiopian culture.]

 

  • Pray that the church will be able to shun tribalism, and be ready to give an answer to all who may question them about their hope as Christians in some areas experience hostility from some tribes who demand that Christians participate in tribal clashes.

 

  • Pray for godly leadership within Christian communities.

 

  • Pray for more Bibles translations. Pray for the 30 plus translation projects.

 

  • Pray for oral Bible teaching as many “Bible Listening Groups” have come up. Audio scripture is available in 73 languages/dialects.

 

  • Pray that the Lord will protect and further the work of all the NGOs

 

  • Pray to the Lord that He will encourage continue to grow His church

 

Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for:

  • Leah Sharibu and Alice, prisoners of Boko Haram. Pray that they will be set free.
  • Pray pastor Wang Yi to be released from Prison
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert persecuted for her faith in Iran.

You are invited to join us on Thursday, December 10 in a prayer call for the persecuted church.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

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

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 (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.

With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re 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’re new to the call and can’t 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!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

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.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Christian Under Attack

12/05/2020 (Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to pray with us tonight on the Prayer Conference Call.

“10 Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12

Dear Prayer Warriors, tonight we will lift up Christians in Nigeria and India who are facing relentless attacks. Please read reports below.

Christians Killed in Central and Southwestern Nigeria

Christians in Hiding after Brutal Mob Attack in Central India

We will also continue to pray for:

 

· Leah Sharibu and Alice that they will be set free from Boko Haram captivity

On Jul 08, 2020 · Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah.

 

· Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison, for his family, the children, and the church in China

On December 28 the police raided the Early Rain Church and arrested Pastor Wang Yi, his wife Jiang Rong, and ten elders of the well-known 750-member church for holding “illegal” services. Some 100 believers were detained, questioned, and later released. Pastor Wang’s wife was also released. Pastor Wang remained in detention.

 

· For Anita, an Iranian Christian, persecuted by the Islamic regime.

 

· 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, recently reduced from ten years.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani converted to Christianity at the age of 19 and leads a 400-member house church in Rasht, Iran. Since 2006, Iranian authorities have consistently harassed and detained Pastor Nadarkhani and his family. In 2010, the authorities sentenced him to death for apostasy before acquitting him in 2012. Pastor Nadarkhani was tried again in 2017 on false charges of “acting against national security” and promoting “Zionist Christianity,” for which he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. By July 2018, plainclothes agents raided Pastor Nadarkhani’s home to execute the sentence, beating and apprehending him and using a taser gun on one of his sons. He is now incarcerated at the notorious Evin prison near Tehran.

 

· For the harvest

“2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Luke 10:2

In the love of Christ,

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

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

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 (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.

With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re 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’re new to the call and can’t 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!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

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.

Christians Killed in Central and Southwestern Nigeria

Suspected Fulani herdsmen kill pastor in Ekiti state.

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen attacks on predominantly Christian communities in Kaduna state on Saturday night and Sunday morning (Nov. 28-29) killed seven Christians, two days after a pastor was slain in southwestern Nigeria, sources said.

The “Fulani terrorists” in Kaduna state also kidnapped two children and wounded four people in the attacks on Ungwar Bido and Ungwar-Pah, near Jagindi in Jema’a County, area resident Samuel Auta told Morning Star News.

He and a Kaduna state official were unable to obtain the ages of the children, while the official identified only six of those killed: Silas Maman, Malaki Tabat, Geofree Andrew, Anna Ahmadu, Sunday Tagwai and Fidelis Musa, all of Ungwar Bido village. Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna state commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, in a press statement identified the two missing children as Rebecca Andrew and Clement Andrew and the four wounded as Adamu Mangai, Matta Silas, Yaro Musa and Yaro Andrew.

The assailants also burned down four houses, he said.

“The houses of Adamu Mangai, Gideon Nuhu, Andrew Adamu and Alphonsus Michael were razed down by the attackers,” Aruwan said. “The state government condemns these attacks and the loss of lives and has directed security agencies to investigate and arrest all persons involved in the criminal actions.”

Earlier this month, suspected Fulani in Kaduna state’s Zangon Kataf County killed Christian community leader Haruna Kuye and his son, Destiny Kuye, in Gidan Zaki village, according to Luka Binniyat, spokesman of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU).

“Both father and son were sleeping in their home in Gidan Zaki village when they were brutally shot dead” on Nov. 17, he said in a statement to Morning Star News. “The dastardly murder of the district head of Mazaki in Atyap Chiefdom, Zangon Kataf, and his teenage son stands totally condemned. It was a well-planned murder by evil men who sneaked into the village and headed for his home and unleashed terror. The heartless killers also attacked his wife and daughter, but they survived with injuries.”

Aruwan said in a statement that area soldiers reported Kuye’s wife sustained machete wounds while his daughter was shot in the hand.

“The security report further stated that the attack was carried out by about five men wielding AK-47 rifles and machetes, who also tried to burn the house and a vehicle in the premises,” Aruwan said.

Binniyat also reported killings in Chikun County.

“Pray for the Christians of Katarma village in Chikun Local Government Area,” he said. “Most Christian villages on that axis have been destroyed in the past three days, many killed, and some kidnapped.”

Binniyat said SOKAPU is calling on the Kaduna and federal governments to assist thousands of displaced people in southern Kaduna state.

“Most of them are living under sub-human conditions, especially children, women, the old and infirm,” he said. “In Kallah, Rimau and Geffe, Christian communities all in Kallah ward, Kajuru Local Government Area, thousands of displaced Christians are in dire need of food and medical services.”

Likewise, Christians in Chikun County have fled their homes after Fulani militia unleashed terror on them and occupied their communities, he said. Thousands of displaced Christians have taken refuge in Unguwan Bijeh, Buyaya, Goning Gora, Unguwan Madaki and other areas south of the Kaduna River, he said.

“No citizens deserve to be so neglected and abandoned by its government after it has failed in its cardinal responsibility of securing their lives and property,” Binniyat said.

Pastor Killed

In southwest Nigeria’s Ekiti state, suspected Fulani herdsmen on Thursday or Friday (Nov. 26-27) killed the Rev. Johnson Oladimeji as he traveled home from to Ikere-Ekiti, where he leads a congregation of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, the president of Ekiti Baptist Church Conference said in a statement.

The Rev. Johnson Oladimeji, killed in Ekiti state, Nigeria. (Morning Star News)

Pastor Oladimeji’s family members had made a series of phone calls when he did not return from visiting his mother in Osun state on Thursday (Nov. 26), the Rev. Adeyinka Aribasoye said. Pastor Oladimeji’s body was found in his car on Friday (Nov. 27).

“The herdsmen who were hiding in the forest along the highway shot at his vehicle,” Pastor Aribasoye told Morning Star News. “Rev. Oladimeji was hit by bullets that were shot by the herdsmen. A search team made of Baptist church members found out that he had been killed on the highway.”

A funeral wake for the slain pastor was planned for Monday (Nov. 30), with burial scheduled for the next day.

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 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.

The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.

“In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.

Christian Leaders Urge Prayer for Nigeria’s Forgotten Victims

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Their pleas for government help falling on deaf ears, Christian leaders issued calls for prayer this month as Islamic extremist groups continued terrorizing northeast Nigeria.

In the wake of attacks and kidnappings by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram and its offshoot Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), leaders of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) called for the release of four members long held captive by Islamic extremists in the country’s northeast.

The Rev. Stephen Baba Panya, president of the ECWA, said church leaders are troubled at the lack of effort by the Nigerian government to free church members years after Islamic extremist groups took them captive. He called for prayer for high school student Leah Sharibu, two aid workers, university student Lillian Gyang and the 112 girls who remain captive of the 276 kidnapped from a high school in Chibok, Borno state in 2014.

“Please join faith with me, and let us pray standing on God’s promises in Matthew 18:18-19 that Boko Haram/ISWAP or any other Islamic terror group shall not determine the fate of God’s beloved daughters Leah Sharibu, Alice Loksha Ngaddah, Grace Lucas, and Lillian Gyang who are ECWA members, and also the remaining Chibok girls,” Pastor Panya said in a statement sent to Morning Star News.

Leah Sharibu, 15 years old when she was kidnapped by Boko Haram on Feb. 19, 2018 from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, in Dapchi, Yobe state, was one of 110 girls taken captive; the 109 Muslim girls were released while Leah remained captive when she refused to renounce her Christian faith.

Ngaddah, mother of two children and an aid worker with UNICEF, was abducted on March 1, 2018 in Rann, Borno state, when ISWAP militants attacked an Internally Displaced Persons camp where she was working. Her aged mother reportedly died of trauma soon after learning about the kidnapping.

Taku, a health worker with Action Against Hunger, was kidnapped by ISWAP militants on July 18, 2019, along the Damasak-Maiduguri highway in Borno state. She also was ministering to displaced people.

Lillian Daniel Gyang, a student at the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) in Borno state, was kidnapped on Jan. 9 by ISWAP while returning to school from the Christmas and New Year’s break from her native Plateau state.

ISWAP in 2016 broke off from Boko Haram, which attacked two predominantly Christian communities in Borno state earlier this month. The Boko Haram insurgents, who seek to impose sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria, attacked Pulka and Gwoza towns soon after Christians had finished Sunday evening services on Nov. 8, residents said.

“The attacks on Pulka and Gwoza towns started at about 9 p.m. and lasted till around 11p.m.,” area resident Vanessa Muda told Morning Star News by text message. “The Boko Haram terrorists invaded our towns shooting indiscriminately on our people.”

Another area resident, Polycarp John, said the Boko Haram militants were heavily armed.

“They were repelled when personnel of the Nigerian army who were stationed here fought them and forced them to retreat from Gwoza and Pulka towns,” he told Morning Star News by text message. “Our towns have been under constant attacks from Boko Haram since 2014, and at a time, Gwoza town was made the headquarters of the Boko Haram caliphate until the Nigeria army retook the town from them in 2018.”

The attacks came on the heels of an appeal by leaders of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), for prayer for Christians in southern Borno state facing terror from both Boko Haram and ISWAP militants.

“It is harvest time, which is challenging in normal years, but in these past years includes the threat of Boko Haram destroying the crop or attacking people as they harvest,” the leaders wrote in a Nov. 6 email. “Pray for many vulnerable villages in southern Borno state and other areas far from military bases.”

Six Nigerians Convicted

Lela Gilbert, senior fellow for international religious freedom for the Family Research Council, stated in a recent report that in spite of frequent appeals from Nigerian church leaders across the denominational spectrum and international human rights advocates, violence is escalating.

“Many informed observers describe Nigeria’s political leadership as both incompetent and corrupt,” Gilbert noted. “But that’s only part of the problem. Not only are they almost entirely Muslim in their religious affiliation (while the country’s population is roughly half Christian), as previously noted, several governmental leaders – beginning with President Muhammadu Buhari – belong to the Fulani tribe, as do numerous military and police officials. This is seen as one of the major roadblocks to reform, particularly with regard to the Fulani jihadi massacres.”

In the United Arab Emirates, authorities were able to convict six Nigerians resident in the UAE for financing Boko Haram activities in Nigeria, according to press reports.

Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu were sentenced to life imprisonment, while Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, Abdurahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa each received 10-year prison sentences, according to Nigerian newspaper the Daily Trust.

An Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal convicted the six Islamists of providing Boko Haram with $782,000.

On Jan. 30 Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. CSI issued the call in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’”

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.

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