VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Category Archives: Nigeria

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International Community Ignores Genocide of Christians in Nigeria

VOP Note: For the past 5 years, Nigerian Christian leaders and rights activists have been trying warn the world that a genocide was taking place against the Christians in the North. The barbaric acts of jihadist groups, Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen, still continue unabated as more than 6000 Christians have been killed since the start of 2018. Where is the international concern and outcry? (Raymond Ibrahim) —In what the Christian Association of Nigeria is calling a “pure genocide,” 238 more Christians were killed and churches desecrated by Muslims last week in the west African nation. According to a joint statement by the Christian Association, an umbrella group of various Christian denominations, “There is no doubt that the sole purpose of these attacks is aimed at ethnic cleansing, land grabbing and forceful ejection of the Christian natives from their ancestral land and heritage.”

The statement condemned the recent attacks, “where over 200 persons were brutally killed and our churches destroyed without any intervention from security agencies in spite of several distress calls made to them.”

The statement adds that the majority of those 6,000 Christians massacred this year were “mostly children, women and the aged…  What is happening in … Nigeria is pure genocide and must be stopped immediately.”

The details of the murder of these thousands, though seldom reported, are often grisly: many were either hacked to death or beheaded with machetes; others were burned alive (including inside locked churches or homes); and women are often sexually assaulted or even raped before being slaughtered.

For long, both the Nigerian government and the U.S. government have sought to present this protracted jihad as territorial clashes between the haves (apparently always Christians) and haves-not (apparently always Muslims).

For instance, in 2012, Bill Clinton said that “inequality” and “poverty” are “what’s fueling all this stuff” (the “stuff” being a reference to the ongoing Muslim slaughter of Christians in Nigeria).  Following the 2012 Easter Day bombing of a Nigerian church that left 39 worshippers dead, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, said, “I want to take this opportunity to stress one key point and that is that religion is not driving extremist violence” in Nigeria.  Similarly, the Obama administration reportedly agreed to spend $600 million in a USAID initiative launched to ascertain the “true causes” of unrest and violence in Nigeria—which naturally lay in the socio-economic, never the religious, realm.

In its recent statement, however, the Christian Association of Nigeria denied these claims. After saying that those responsible for slaughtering Christians are always allowed to “go scot free” by the Nigerian government—which further portrays the attacks as “farmers/herdsmen clashes”—it inquired:

“How can it be a clash when one group [Muslims] is persistently attacking, killing, maiming, [and] destroying, and the other group [Christians] is persistently being killed, maimed and their places of worship destroyed? How can it be a clash when the herdsmen are hunting farmers in their own villages/communities and farmers are running for their lives?”

On May 2, the National Christian Elders Forum — a wing of the Christian Association, the members of which average the age of 75 and come from Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones — met with the British High Commission in an effort to receive support. (Days before the meeting, around 30 Muslim herdsmen had stormed a church during early morning Mass and murdered nearly 20 parishioners and two clergymen.) The group’s executive summary of issues included:

It is clear to the Christian Elders that JIHAD has been launched in Nigeria by the Islamists of northern Nigeria led by the Fulani ethnic group [the “herdsmen”]. This Jihad is based on the Doctrine of Hate taught in Mosques and Islamic Madrasas in northern Nigeria as well as the supremacist ideology of the Fulani. Using both conventional (violent) Jihad, and stealth (civilization) Jihad, the Islamists of northern Nigeria seem determined to turn Nigeria into an Islamic Sultanate and replace Liberal Democracy with Sharia as the National Ideology. The object of course, is to supplant the Constitution with Sharia as the source of legislation. The current 1999 Constitution is plagued with dual conflicting ideology of Democracy and Sharia. There are certain values which are non-negotiable in a pluralistic society and it seems the advocates of the Caliphate do not respect this. A dual-ideology-driven Nigeria cannot be the Nigeria of our dream. We want a Nigeria, where citizens are treated equally before the law at all levels…. Bearing in mind that Christians constitute over 50% of the Nigerian population, the goal of the Islamists is bound to create serious conflicts which if not checked is capable of escalating into another civil war. Already, the Islamists are murdering Christians with impunity and destroying vulnerable Christian places of worship and communities at an alarming and inhuman rate.

That 6,000 Christians, “mostly children, women and the aged,” have been butchered in just the first six months of this year is a reminder of how violence only escalates when left unchecked. That is the story of the Muslim persecution of Christians in Nigeria.

It took three times as long (a year-and-a-half, between December 2013 to July 2015), for example, for the same Muslim herdsmen to slaughter a total of 1,484 Christians (532 men, 507 women, and 445 children), critically wound 2,388 Christians (1,069 men, 817 women, and 502 children), and burn or destroy 171 churches.

The Nigerian government and the international community, however, have from the start done little to address the situation. This lack of participation is not surprising: they cannot even acknowledge its roots, namely, the intolerant ideology of jihad. As a result, the death toll of Christians has only risen — and will likely continue to grow exponentially — until such time that this reality is not only acknowledged but addressed. Cross posted on Gatestone Institute

Calls for action

Sent to Voice of the Persecuted by one of our contacts,

“I am very far from Nigeria but the sad and bad news from Plateau State are not far from me. I hear that herdsmen are on the prowl again and there is bloodshed, murder of infants, youths, men and women in huge numbers in our beloved land of “peace and tourism”. The flagrant and despicable taking of human lives and the continued destruction to homes and means of livelihood is a disgrace to humanity and a shameful projection of a negative image of Nigerians.

The  gruesome murders have robbed me of the enthusiasm, energy and pride with which I came to Canada and America. I came boasting to the various audiences I had – whether in Church prayer gatherings or discussion groups, at media interviews or during interactions with officials of Foreign Affairs  Ministry, about the huge potentials in Nigeria and how even in the midst of violence caused either by Boko Haram, militant herdsmen or the yet to be identified “foreign invaders”, peace is very possible as we are determined to sustain the culture of civilized conduct and peace. I declared emphatically that I am proud of being a Nigerian and cannot apologize for that conviction. I have talked to hundreds of people in Canada and the United States of America, assuring them that Nigerians are a hard working, religious, resilient and peaceful people. I told my friends who have been postponing their visit to Nigeria for ten years now due to security issues not to be afraid. I told them to “come and see”. Last year, I hosted visitors from 12 countries from South America, Asia and Europe and they all returned home safely after visiting Jos and even  Maiduguri.  I therefore renewed my invitation to my friends to come to Jos and they will experience that the people are a kind-hearted, loving and peaceful people and not what they read in exaggerated media reports.

While I am still here making frantic positive propaganda for my country Nigeria,  inhuman and diabolical killings have taken place in parts of Plateau State. What do I tell the friends I have convinced to come, the youths I interacted with telling them how beautiful Nigeria is? What of the messages of hope  about Nigeria that I gave  in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, New York, Portsmouth, Milwaukee, etc, telling everyone about the goodness of my beloved country? Was I lying? Why should I be confronted with such embarrassing news while I am still on “active duty” here as an unrecognized and unappreciated ambassador for Nigeria – a duty I have performed selflessly in many parts of the world for over two decades now. Wherever I find myself I have tried to promote the positive image of our dear country, of course, not neglecting it’s dark sides.

While I am out here, people are still asking me questions about the Chibok girls, the Dapchi girls, especially of Leah. They ask me what they hear about the murderous terrorists called herdsmen who kill priests and lay faithful at worship or defenseless people on the farms. They join me in worrying that these murderous agents don’t seem to have in sight the end of their massive destruction to lives and property.

In the course of my journey I have also met with government officials and tried to put up strong arguments about why there is violence and destruction in our land, blaming  corruption, poverty and bad governance and begging them (officials abroad) to genuinely intervene to speed our socio-economic progress. Now, with this indescribable wickedness of killers in Plateau State and other parts of the Middle Belt where the poison of extreme violence is emitted intermittently from the wells of their evil hearts, meant to cause monumental loss to lives and property, is there still justification in telling the “good news” about Nigeria?

I have shared the story of multidimensional peace efforts in Nigeria, using our Dialogue Reconciliation and Peace (DREP) Centre in Jos as an example. DREP is an initiative of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos meant to offer a neutral place where reconciliation of aggrieved parties takes place and also the Interfaith Vocational Training Centre in Bokkos near Barkin Ladi, where Muslim youths and Christian youths are trained for two years in vocational skills and helped to appreciate the civilized culture of dialogue instead of hostile confrontation at the slightest feeling of provocation. I explained how shortly before I left Nigeria we were at meetings in DREP Centre in Jos with the Fulani and Irigwe ethnic groups to strategize on how to evert further killings. We even agreed to hold an interfaith prayer session in August.

Today, when I heard that the killings have resumed, I called His Excellency, Governor Simon Lalong and my Vicar General Msgr. Cletus Gotan, who both kindly explained the pathetic situation to me,  and all of them felt so flabbergasted at the turn of events by the gruesome murders.
Could our President come out clearly, categorically and courageously to explain to his kinsmen why dialogue is the best solution. Cattle, as important as they are, cannot be valued over human beings. That does not mean that cows should be wounded, stolen or killed. I believe not enough has been done to challenge the herdsmen killings. Is it because of the so-called “hidden agenda” or  simply the absence of courage, determination,  patriotism  and political will? The Igbos who merely attempted secession were brutalized and suppressed. Who will suppress these raging evil killers? Quod erat demonstrandum.” —Bishop Ignatius Kaigama

“World watches in awe as 12 boys are being rescued from imminent death by floods in Thailand while Nigeria watches as hundreds die avoidably for cows.” —Nigerian human rights lawyer, Emmanuel Ogebe

Nigeria’s bishops call again on president to save country from ‘avoidable chaos’ or resign

“It can no longer be regarded as mere coincidence that the suspected perpetrators of these heinous crimes are of the same religion as all those who control the security apparatus of our country, including the President himself,” the statement said. “Words are no longer enough for the President and his service chiefs to convince the rest of the citizens that these killings are not part of a larger religious project.”

“While we vehemently condemn any shedding of human blood and ask the Police to speedily arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes, we must point out the double standards applied by the same Police any time the herdsmen are attacked and killed. In this latter case they react very swiftly and the law promptly takes its course. Would that the same swiftness be applied to all cases.

“Once again,” the bishops said, “we ask President Muhammadu Buhari to please save this country from further pain and avoidable chaos, anarchy and doom.” Should he not take action to promote peace, he should step down from his role, the statement said, as he would lose “the trust of the citizens.”  Read more

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VOP is on the ground helping persecuted Christian refugees from Nigeria and Pakistan. Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope. Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTEDHis Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

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Death Toll in Jos, Nigeria Attacks at 218, including Pastor, Wife and Son

Protestors on their way to Plateau state governor’s residence in Jos, Nigeria. (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – An Assemblies of God Nigeria pastor, his wife and son were among at least 218 people killed in Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacks on predominantly Christian areas near Jos on June 23-25, a denominational leader said.

Two days after the general superintendent of the AG-Nigeria denomination, the Rev. Chidi Okoroafor, reported the deaths of the Rev. Musa Choji and family members in the Barkin Ladi area near Jos, the federal government on Thursday (June 28) ordered the arrest of a pastor who organized protests of the killings, Christian leaders said.

The Rev. Isa Nenman, a pastor in Jos, was arrested on Thursday after the protests reportedly resulted in property destruction when he led demonstrators to the Government House, the residence of the governor of Plateau state, on Wednesday (June 27). Nenman is northern zone chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Plateau state chapter.

“Following yesterday’s peaceful protest by CAN supported by youth groups, the CAN chairman, Northern Zone, is in police custody, and there is a directive from Abuja to make arrests,” Paul Dekete, one of the facilitators of the protest march, said in a press statement.

The protest saw thousands of Christians dressed in black marching to the Governor’s House to demonstrate against incessant attacks on Christians in the state by armed Fulani herdsmen. Prior to the protests, Christians in Plateau state had observed two days of fasting and prayer on Wednesday and Thursday (June 27-28).

The protestors carried a placard calling for the government to “Declare Fulani herdsmen as terrorist,” and another one that read, “Ransack Fulani settlements.” The protests started peacefully, but after the governor declined to receive them, protestors reportedly tried to storm the premises, threw stones at cars and offices and chased government officials.

Killing of Pastor

The AG-Nigeria’s Okoroafor said the herdsmen in the June 24 attacks burned down the worship auditorium where Pastor Choji served.

“We received with pains in our heart the brutal killing of our pastor, the Rev. Musa Choji, his wife, his son and many other Nigerians including women and children, and also the burning of our church,” Okoroafor said. “The leadership of the Assemblies of God Nigeria calls for serious prayers and asks the government to do her expected responsibility by fishing out perpetrators of this ungodly act.”

CAN national leaders last week reported that 218 Christians died in the June 23-25 attacks.

CAN President Samson Ayokunle said in a press statement that the Christians were killed in 44 villages across the local government areas of Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Bokkos, and Jos South, all in Plateau state.

“As the umbrella organization for all Christians in Nigeria, we are at pains at the tragedy that has befallen our members,” Ayokunle said. “We mourn the death of over 200 Christians slaughtered on the Plateau at the weekend, and we passionately appeal to the [Muhammadu] Buhari-led administration to rise up and put a stop to further killings of innocent people, including defenseless women and children.”

Ayokunle, also president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC), said CAN obtained reliable information on the number of dead from June 23 to June 25 from local government areas around Jos.

“Apart from the total number of the deaths, there are still missing persons,” he said. “Many people also sustained various degrees of injuries.”

The Nigerian government should ensure that Christians are protected from further attacks, he said.

“CAN calls on all security agencies to wake up to their constitutional responsibilities of protecting lives and property,” Ayokunle said.

He urged them to be proactive, saying mobilizing troops and policemen after the havoc has been done does not make sense, and that a government that cannot protect its citizens is a failed government.

“CAN is, once again, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to replace all the security chiefs and the Inspector General of Police, because they have overstayed their welcome,” he said. “It is ridiculous and embarrassing that in the last three years, none of these criminals have been apprehended, detained, arraigned and convicted.”

This failure to prosecute is emboldening the herdsmen to kill the innocent with impunity, he said.

“We are approaching a state of anarchy faster than we can imagine,” he said. “Why are we following the footpath of Rwanda daily with these unprecedented killings and mass burials when we are not at war? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.

Nigeria ranked 14th on Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.

Nigeria: Massacre as US IRF Freedom Ambassador departs; hundreds feared dead

(Voice of the Persecuted) International human rights lawyer, Emmanuel Ogebe sent an urgent alert to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) addressing a 60 hour killing spree that began last weekend [where possibly] 200 Christians were slaughtered in Plateau State, even as the US Ambassador At Large for International Religious Freedom was departing Nigeria.
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Ambassador Brownback’s one week visit was pockmarked with 6 suicide bombings by Boko Haram in one day (the largest single day detonations), deadly Shiite clashes with the police, altercations between local Muslims and a community and continuing killings by Muslim Fulani Herdsmen.
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The grand finale of this perfect storm of violence was the triple digit massacre in Plateau State. See Viewpoint Nigeria’s report Despair as death toll of Barkin Ladi killings reaches 106– 31 corpses were recovered from Gindin Akwati (i.e, Ex-lands),
– 34 from Gana-Ropp,
– 8 from Shonong and the balance
– 33 from small villages (e..g, Razat, Ruku, Nghar, Tanabu, Tisan, Kakuruk etc) in the vicinity.
Vanguard News front page called it a bloodbath
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Overnight, I have been inundated with photos too gruesome to share here of horribly mutilated bodies of children brutally macheted to death and macheted still after death for maximal horror effect, charred corpses and bodies stacked in mass graves, Ogebe lamented.
Already the Fulani have justified this heinous crime against humanity The sad thing is this is not the first time nor the last. In 2012 when Fulanis massacred over 60 Christian villagers in Plateau State, an executive of the same cattle [rearing] group said the same thing. I wrote to the Attorney General and asked, “This man has admitted the crime. Why hasn’t he been picked up?” He is still free till today. After the New Year Massacre in Benue State, again they admitted it. No one has been arrested.
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Worse still, some of the communities attacked this weekend were attacked previously. In fact one of them was part of the notorious 2010 Dogo Na Hawa Massacre in which 500 Christians were killed. That massacre 8 years ago spurred me to launch the Justice For Jos project and that has evolved to covering Boko Haram atrocities. Ironically the Herdsmen atrocities have continued unabated while Boko Haram hogged the spotlight.
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Sadly all of this occurred while Nigeria’s President Buhari was busy holding a party convention in his bid for re-election. Early last week I got distress messages from of our local workers that he was trapped outside the orphanage because of an ongoing Herdsmen attack. However President Buhari deployed over 5000 policemen for his security at the party convention and the killings built up until the massacre despite the early warnings.
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We hear reports that mass burials are being ordered by the authorities to hide the true casualties.
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Victims of the latest killings.

At this point the Plateau massacre this weekend looks likely to be the third worst in the 8 years in which I have tracked Herdsmen attacks.

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1. Dogo Nahawa 500 killed March 2010 Plateau State
2. Agatu 300 killed
February 2016 Benue State
3. Barkin Ladi 200? Plateau State June 2018
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Mourners at a funeral were also killed, see report. Again not for the first time.
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It is disconcerting that a small Muslim minority can so terrorize Christian majorities in Benue and Plateau state because of their monopoly of violence. The great danger is if Christians choose not to take it anymore. Friends and family have been appealing for evacuation since last night as Muslims are amassing. However Plateau is where most Christians from the far north flee for safety so where does everyone one now go?
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One of my colleagues [informed] me that Rocket Propelled Grenades were used in these attacks. I am waiting on the evidence but if true, this is not the first time either.

Two Christians Ambushed, Killed in Central Nigeria

Peace Joseph, 6, slain in attack in Miango, Nigeria on March 8. (Morning Star News)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Sunday (June 10) killed two Christians and seriously wounded another in central Nigeria as they made their way home from a church service, local sources said.

Ibrahim Weyi, 45, and Larry More, 53, were said to be hacked to death when herdsmen ambushed them at 7:40 p.m. as the Christians were going home on a motorcycle from an evening worship service in Plateau state’s Kwall village, in the Bassa area, Patience Moses told Morning Star News.

A third Christian, 23-year-old Samuel Weyi, was wounded in the attack, the local resident said. All three belong to the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Kwall, another resident, Lawerence Zango, told Morning  Star News. Weyi is receiving treatment at an Intensive Care Unit of a hospital in Jos, he said.

“Fulani herdsmen have continued to kill innocent Christians in our villages, yet the Nigerian government has not taken proactive measures to end the onslaught,” Zango said.

A spokesman for the Plateau State Command, Mathias Tyopev, confirmed the attack and told Morning Star News that an investigation is underway.

Herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in the Bassa area intensified late last year and have continued in spite of the presence of military personnel, sources said. Since February, 11 Christians have lost their lives in the area at the hands of Muslim Fulani herdsmen, including the two killed on Sunday, said the Rev. Sunday Zibeh, pastor of the ECWA church in Nzharuvo, Miango.

“In these cases, the victims were either ambushed and killed by the herdsmen or attacked in their homes at night,” Pastor Zibeh told Morning Star News. “The sad reality is that the Nigerian government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, himself a Muslim and a Fulani man, has not acted in any way to end these attacks.”

He gave the names of those killed as Adam Sunday, 38; Jatau Akus, 39; Chohu Awarhai and Marcus Mali, 22, all of Jebbu-Miango village. They were ambushed and killed by the herdsmen on April 18.

“The four victims were construction workers working on site when they were attacked,” he said.

In March two other Christians, 17-year-old Lumumbah Chayi and Joseph Alli, 23, were killed in Jebbu-Miango and Rotsu villages, he said.

“Joseph was attacked and beheaded at about 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 15 in Rotsu village, while Chayi, a high school student, was murdered on Monday, March 12, at about 7 p.m. by the Fulani herdsmen in Kwall village,” he said.

In February three other Christians were killed and two injured in an ambush by herdsmen near Zanwra village, Pastor Zibeh said. John Esije was 32; Monday Nzwe was 38; and Saku Giyeri was 41. The wounded survivors are Sunday Bala, 33, and, Gudu Gara, 25, he said, adding that all the victims were members of ECWA church.

Zango, a church youth leader in Miango, which is part of the Bassa Local Government Area, told Morning Star News that since the beginning of 2017, 99 Christians in the Miango area have been killed in attacks on at least 26 villages, with another 44 Christians injured and 863 houses razed.

Among them were three children of an ECWA church member in Nzharuvo village, Miango. Joseph Gah Nze said Muslim Fulani herdsmen broke into his house on at 10 p.m. on March 8 and killed his three children – 12-year-old twins Christopher and Emmanuel, and 6-year Peace Joseph – and 18-year-old nephew Henry Audu.

In addition, Zango said more than 23,000 Christians have been displaced from their Miango area homes, thousands of dollars of farm produce have been destroyed and 15 motorbikes and a bus have been burned. At least 24 irrigation water pumps have been destroyed, he added.

The Irigwe Development Association, an umbrella community organization for Irigwe ethnic peoples, who are predominantly Christian, in April decried the incessant killings. Sunday Abdu, president of the association, said at a press conference in Jos on April 24 that between Jan. 25 and March 12, more than 70 Christians were killed by armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen.

“The Irigwe nation feels compelled to once more raise the alarm over the continuous loss of lives from attacks on innocent villages,” Abdu said. “You are aware that we buried 25 people on the day we had set out to bury four out of the five that were killed on the night of the president’s visit to the state, this is in addition to the ones we have buried from series of attacks since January, not to mention the number of homes we have lost from such attacks and the destruction of farmlands which has ensured a looming hunger.”

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.

 

 

Heroic Christian girl boldly refuses to deny her faith when threatened by Boko Haram

As Holy Week begins and we prepare for Resurrection Sunday, a 15 yr. old girl from North Nigeria is standing firm while clinging to Christ in a Boko Haram terrorist camp. Leah Sharibu, Liya in the Hausa language, was among over 100 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from a school in Dapchi, Northern Nigeria  on Feb. 19. The militants released 104 of the schoolgirls on March 22, 2018, with the exception of Leah, the only Christian in the group. Boko Haram members gave Leah an option to gain her freedom, renounce her Christian faith and become a Muslim. However, she refused to deny her faith in Jesus Christ and Leah is still being held captive by the Boko Haram,

During interview with a soldier, one of the released girls relayed information about Leah.

Q. Where is that Christian girl (Leah)?
Dapchi Schoolgirl: We left her there.

Q. why?
Dapchi Schoolgirl: It’s because she refuses to be a Moslem.

Q. Was she crying while you were leaving?
Dapchi Schoolgirl: Yes, I even begged Leah to accept Islam but she refused and said she can’t live with herself if she came back. So she will not that its better to be killed by Boko Haram.

There’s one old man from Damaturu who is also a Boko Haram that brings us water. He also asked Leah to convert to Islam but she said “no.” Where by the news reached to their commander that there is one Christian girl that refused to accept Islam so they brought her before him. She repeated the same thing, and he said “we will kill you.” He showed her one temporary zinc and ordered her to go and sit inside.

Press Statements from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President & ECWA President called for her immediate release from an unjust Boko Haram captivity. They sent out a call to prayer in all Churches on the 25th that should continue until her release.

Naturally, the news of the girls release brought great joy for many parents. Though Leah’s parents are happy for the others, they’re grieved ;;

The following is a portion of the transcript of interview with Leah’s parents shared on Facebook “I AM LEAH” (A page dedicated to Leah)

Leah’s Father

IAMLEAH Interviewer: What message do you have for your daughter?

Father: I want Leah from now henceforth not to deny Christ in any situation of suffering and I want her to endure with what she started to the end.

IAMLEAH Interviewer:  What’s your message to the government?

Father: I am pleading for the government to do the right thing and help, as they do before, for bringing the rest to their parents, to do so to our daughter.

IAMLEAH Interviewer:  What’s your message to those that are praying for Leah?

Father:  I want the Christians to continue praying for Leah, for it is because of the Christians’ faith in prayers that is why Leah stands in the faith, and I want the Christians not only to pray for Leah, but also the family.

Leah’s Mother

#IAMLEAH Interviewer: How do you feel about Leah’s courage?
Mother: I am happy because Leah is doing the right thing. Even if they shoot Leah there, we believe that she will be with Christ Jesus.

#IAMLEAH Interviewer: What does Leah want to become in the future?
Mother: Leah wants to be a scientist. She always wants to read science.

IAMLEAH Interviewer:  What’s your message to the terrorists?

Mother: I said that even if we are told today that they’ve shot Leah, I thank God that Leah is still Christian, and that one day I will see her again.

IAMLEAH Interviewer:  What message to those praying for Leah?

Mother: May God accept and answer all their prayers.

The courage of this young girl is touching not only those in Nigeria, but globally. Christians are taking notice of her strength of faith and examining their own.

  • I have been silent on the issue of the kidnap, and the release of some of the victims yesterday. I just decided to pray more in this season and trust God to help our nation. However, couldn’t hold my peace when the news of the only Christian girl amongst the kidnapped victims wasn’t released because she refused to recant and deny her faith in Jesus Christ, as her Lord and Saviour. Am not here to talk about the politics or the drama involved in the whole saga, but to talk to Christians and the Christendom in Nigeria.
    I am of the opinion that, if a fifteen (15) years old girl in the far northeast, with very little knowledge of our so called ‘revelations of the Bible’, access to our various and sophisticated study materials, tapes, audios, Christian channels etc; even our ultramodern buildings and gadgets can refuse to deny Jesus, even though that was the only condition giving to her to secure her freedom. And she willingly risked her life for her faith, then we really need to ask ourselves again, “what did she believe”? “Can what we claim to have believed produce the same kind of conviction, boldness and courage”? Especially, we pastors, can we boast of such quality of a disciple as the product of our messages and tutelage?
    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, i think this girl’s action is an indictment on us, and should send a very urgent message to us as a whole. It is a call to introspection! Let us look inward again, to reevaluate our motives and messages. No wonder it seems that darkness became powerful in Nigeria overnight or all of a sudden? No, it is either we have built wrongly or majored in the minor!!
    Let our Christianity not only be bogous and loud, let it also have depth. Churches everywhere, yet no depth. It is time to launch into the deep; for deep calleth into the deep now!!!
    I am personally praying first, for myself, reevaluating to see if what i have believed can deny Jesus in the face of death or endure to the end. Oh Lord, help your Church in Nigeria and the world at large. Please, lets keep praying for her, for strength, courage and ultimate release.
    I see an end time army rising, a breed without greed, the remnant that hasn’t bowed to Baal; they will deculturize the present terrain. Yea, i see a new Nigeria! 
    Selah!!
  • It seems Christians are more willing to suffer for their faith in places where they are minorities. Liya (Leah) Sharibu, the only Christian among the kidnapped Dapchi schoolgirls, was held back by Boko Haram reportedly because she refused to be forcefully converted to Islam. A little girl is willing to pay the ultimate price for her faith. This is a country where Christians have reduced their faith to collecting anointing oil and anointed handkerchiefs for “miracles”. We are more fired up by prayers and testimonies over contracts, cars and mansions. Liya has thrown a challenge: there is something deeper worth living and dying for. Vanities. – –
  • Another Shedrach Meshach and Abednego in Nigeria. Dare to be a Daniel.

On Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari  hosted the family of late activist Martin Luther King Jr. in the State House, Abuja. Naomi Barbara King, presented the president with the first Black History Month National Black Excellence and Exceptional African Leadership Award.

Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher, former Nigeria’s Ambassador to Mexico, shared an article titled, “Leah Sharibu: The Shaming Of A Nation”

March 26, 2018 one of the biggest historical ironies of all time took place at Aso Rock, Abuja. His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari hosted the family members of Martin Luther King Jr. the World’s greatest champion of freedom, justice and equality ever known.

The timing and the optics were hilarious at best, but deeply ominous.  While Dr. Mrs. Naomi Barbara King was posing with the Nigerian President and turning her cheek for a presidential kiss, in far away North Eastern Nigeria, a defiant fourteen year school girl child, Leah Sharibu, was left in the hands of her captors, the dreaded behemoth of evil called Boko Haram: vicious blustering, gloating and imperious terrorists.

Her schoolmates, her school and her government abandoned Leah.  Alone in the hands of her captors, Leah did not flinch nor beg for mercy but defiantly refused to convert to Islam from her Christian faith.  Her God alone is with her now as she faces death, threats of death, slavery, or other horrendous possibilities of mutilation, defilement, and transgression.

Each second is life and death to this child while the nation gleefully celebrates the return of her Muslim mates and the government congratulates itself.

The shame of the nation is that we are too blind and too deaf and dumb to perceive that a star is born, a new World icon of no less significance than Martin Luther King Jr. Rosa Parks, and Malala Yousafzai, whose actions and conduct changed the World. The Christians who are clamoring for the speedy release of Leah have sadly missed the point. She is now also a symbol of defiance of the moderate Muslims too who are against extremism. Leah is now a World icon. The whole World should rise up and demand for her release. Read more

In regards to the article, one man shared his frustration with the government and what he believed to be a plan using Boko Haram and the Fulani Herdsmen to increase the spread of Islam in the nation. He was also disturbed by the Church body as a whole.

The silence of Christians over the very True CHILD OF GOD, Leah Sharibu’s agony in the den of terrorists exposes the kind of Christians we have. Has any met with Buhari to appeal to him for her freedom? Has any asked Christians to fast and pray for her freedom? Funny enough some churches are promising her scholarship and property in port Harcour.

Who ever gives Buhari peace award needs to delete the meaning of peace from the Dictoinary. Bloody peace or starvation peace? The Martin Luther family has just told the world that they have sold honour and fame for a pot of porridge.

Christians and all Nigerians must reexamine our consciences and values. We may be a brood of vipers or better still new generations of Pharisees. For the Nigerian government and its expansionist wars for the spread of Islam covertly, it is God’s will that will [be] done, not man’s.—

Her mother also shared that her daughter told her schoolmates that if they made it home successfully, they should inform her parents to continue to help her pray for God to protect her and bring her home safely as well; that whether she survived or not, she still needed prayers.

PLEASE pray with us for Leah and share her story with others, be her voice. Ask your church and prayer teams to join with you in lifting this courageous little sister up to the Lord. Let’s continue to pray until she is released!

 

 

 

Christian Widow, Bereaved Father Show Reality behind Herdsmen Attacks in Nigeria

Chanka Amos, 4, was wounded in March 8 attack. (Morning Star News)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Crestfallen, the 48-year-old Christian sat in his house in Miango, central Nigeria, where three of his children were killed a week before.

“These series of attacks have been carried out against us Christians in this area for some time now by these armed herdsmen, and we don’t know precisely why they are doing this to us,” Joseph Gah Nze told Morning Star News. “In spite of these attacks on us, what I can is that we are dependent on God for grace to overcome these challenges. We have no other option than to pray, seeking the face of God, and for these herdsmen to come to know Jesus Christ, as it is only when they know Jesus that they can stop attacking us Christians.”

A member of Evangelical Church Winning All in Nzharuvo village, Miango, near Jos in Plateau state, Nze said Fulani herdsmen broke into his house on at 10 p.m. on March 8 and killed his three children – 12-year-old twins Christopher and Emmanuel, and 6-year Peace Joseph – and 18-year-old nephew Henry Audu. Wounded and receiving hospital treatment was 4-year-old nephew Chanka Amos.

Peace Joseph, 6, slain in attack in Miango, Nigeria on March 8. (Morning Star News)

“My house is located in the outskirts of this area, and so it became the first to be attacked,” he said. “But because the sound of gunshots in my house alerted the other Christians around here, they quickly mobilized themselves and repelled the attackers, forcing them to retreat.”

His wife managed to escape.

In the Klah area in Miango, the Fulani herdsmen terrorized another house that night. Jummai Samaila, a 45-year-old mother of nine children and a member of the ECWA church in Tudun Wada, Miango, was hiding in her house when her husband was shot and killed.

Samaila Isa, 55, was a Fulani Christian.

Jummai Samaila, whose house is located at a Christian mission high school built by SIM missionaries, told Morning Star News in an interview at her home that her husband was resting and listening to news on a radio. She said she had gone to sleep in their bedroom while he remained in front of the house.

“I was woken up by heavy sounds of gunshots,” Samaila said. “The herdsmen shot at our windows, and as I woke up I saw dust all over the room. The room was covered with dust, and I could not see anything.”

Her small child was sleeping with her on the bed.

“I had to move my hand around in the dark in search of my child. I eventually found my child and held tight to it,” she said.

It occurred to her that her husband might still be sitting in front of the house.

“There was shooting going on all around our house, and the whole house was shaking,” she said. “I quickly ran to the children’s room to ensure they were safe, and I found that they were safe. I wanted to go running out of the room, but one of my sons told me not to do so. The window in their room was opened. I lifted the curtain of the window slightly, and outside I saw six armed Fulani herdsmen.”

They were talking in the Fulani language, which she could understand since her husband spoke it, she said.

“I moved away from the window and tried getting out, only to find that my husband was shot and was lying on the floor,” she said. “I could not move since the herdsmen were still in our house. I hid myself in a corner and watched as they carried my husband. Two of them carried his legs, while another two carried him from the chest up. One of them had a torchlight which was switched on to show them the way out of our house.”

They took the family’s goat as they left, she said.

“As they made their way out of our house carrying my husband with them towards a stream just behind our house, my son urged me to open the door so that we can run out to seek for help,” she said. “I opened the door, and we ran out.”

They fled to a house near their church building where other Christians also had taken refuge, and they stayed there until morning, while her 20-year-old son, Yusuf Samaila, remained in their home. When the herdsmen returned to their house that night, she said, one entered a room where Yusuf Samaila was but could not see him in the dark.

Samaila Isa, 55, killed in attack in Miango, Nigeria on March 8. (Morning Star News)

Another herdsman outside ordered the one inside to shoot at anything in the room, but he replied that he couldn’t see anyone in the room and walked out, she said.

“The herdsman outside, not satisfied, placed his gun through the window to shoot inside the room, and then my son, Yusuf, who was overhearing their discussion while hidden in a corner in the room, grabbed the barrel of the gun and used a machete to cut the hand of the man holding the gun,” Samaila said. “There was a painful cry from the herdsman, and the herdsmen immediately left without returning.”

In the morning her husband’s corpse was found near a stream behind their house, she said.

“His father, Mallam Isa, now an octogenarian, is a Muslim Fulani man who decades ago became the first Muslim Fulani man to convert from Islam to Christianity,” she said. “All his children, including my husband, became Christians like their father, and all are married to Christian women in Miango. The Isa family abandoned herding cattle and have lived here in Miango as Christian farmers.”

Faith in God

The Rev. Sunday Zibeh of the ECWA church in Nzharuvo, Miango, told Morning Star News that he and others were standing at the back of the church auditorium at about 10 p.m. on March 8 when the armed herdsmen suddenly began shooting at them.

“We ran as they pursued us and were shooting at us at the same time,” Pastor Zibeh said. “We ran to the area where the district headquarters of ECWA church is located here in Miango. The herdsmen, after a while, withdrew from pursuing us and retreated to the bush where they had emerged.”

The assailants had divided themselves into two groups, he said, one to attack the area behind the ECWA/SIM’s Kent Academy and mission guest-house, and the second to attack close to the ECWA Secondary School.

“It was after the herdsmen had retreated that I was alerted that they killed some children in one of my member’s house,” he said. “I rushed to the house to find that four children were killed in the house, and one was taken to the hospital.”

Pastor Zibeh said he was saddened by the lukewarm attitude of the Nigerian government regarding herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria.

“I feel very sad that these attacks against Christian communities have continued without end, and yet we have security agencies in this country whose duties are to protect the people,” he said. “In view this, I can only say that we only have faith in God to give us the grace to surmount these difficult times we are now facing.”

All they can do is pray, he said.

“If all that is happening to Christians at this time is within the plans of God for us his children, then let His will be fulfilled in us, but if this is not the case, I have faith that God will raise he who will rescue us from these attacks of the herdsmen,” he said. “I plead with other Christians to please stand in the gap for us and other Christians facing persecution in northern Nigeria. I also want to plead that should there be others who are being led by the Holy Spirit to help displaced Christians in northern Nigeria, they should please do so.”

Christians are highly disappointed with the government, he added.

“Christians are being attacked and hunted by herdsmen, and nothing is being done to curtail these attacks,” he said. “The irony too is that, even military personnel brought to the affected areas are helpless as they are not able to confront the armed herdsmen for fear of the Nigerian president, who’s a Fulani man just like the herdsmen.”

The attacks coincided with the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari to Jos on March 8 for a two-day visit. Over the next week, killings in the Basa and Bokkos areas (Miango is in the Bassa area ) followed in which herdsmen were reported to have killed at least 100 people. In turn, Fulani herdsmen reported attacks by ethnic Irigwe militia that killed five people and displaced hundreds.

“In spite of the shortcomings I see in our government in Nigeria, I believe God will rescue us from this calamity,” Pastor Zibeh said. “God alone can wipe away our tears in this part of Nigeria. As Christians, all we need do is to remain faithful to Jesus Christ, and this we can do by getting on our knees and being prayerful.”

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.

Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.

Death and destruction as Boko Haram launches fresh attacks in Cameroon

A Christian family in northern Cameroon look through what is left of their home after it was burned down on 23 February by Boko Haram militants (World Watch Monitor)

(World Watch Monitor) Boko Haram insurgents continue to carry out attacks outside the borders of Nigeria, where the group began.

The Islamists recently attacked two villages in northern Cameroon, close to the north-eastern border with Nigeria, leaving one person dead and many homes destroyed by fire.

The 23 February attack on Virkaza and nearby Tchebechebe was the fourth time Boko Haram has raided villages in Cameroon this year.

During the latest attack, militias set fire to more than 100 huts, a Catholic church and school. The fires claimed the life of one person, who has not yet been named.

A survivor of the attack told World Watch Monitor what happened.

“They attacked Virkaza and Tchebechebe at about 8pm. We started hearing gunshots way before, but it seems that is when they started their attack. We saw the flames at about 8.30pm,” said the survivor, who did not want to be named.

A church leader in Tourou said he could see the fire 25km away.

According to the survivor, Boko Haram militants arrived in the villages “and simply did as they pleased. The army fired shots from afar and the attackers stopped their carnage for a while, but, when they couldn’t hear shots anymore, the attackers simply started burning again, attacking the two villages at the same time”.

There was no resistance from security forces because the area is “very difficult to access”, they said, and the insurgents left the area at around 2am “when they disappeared back across the Nigerian border”.

This latest attack is not the first time that Boko Haram has ventured beyond its borders.

In 2017 there were 32 attacks in Cameroon, two in Chad, and seven in Niger, according to the BBC. There were fewer cross-border attacks last year (41) than in 2016 (47), but the incursions were into the same three countries, all of which border north-eastern Nigeria – the group’s stronghold. There were 80 Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria in 2016, and 109 in 2017. Figures show a growing emphasis on the use of suicide attacks in both Nigeria and Cameroon.

Other attacks in northern Cameroon
Earlier in February, a Boko Haram attack in Gitawa left six dead, including a pregnant woman. Five of the victims were Christian.

The group claimed responsibility for the 15 January attack on Roum, which left four dead after the militants stormed the village and set fire to homes and two churches. On 17 January Boko Haram militants set fire to four houses in Dafidalo.

A church leader in the region told World Watch Monitor the attackers’ aim is to “push us out to occupy these zones”, and that they are seeking revenge for counter-attacks by government forces.

Another church leader, from Mozogo, said: “It is very difficult for the people here. They don’t have anything left for themselves. [Boko Haram] leave no house standing… They took away the money of the church, which was kept in safes… In the night, we just call on God to help us to see the day.”

Before this year’s cross-border attacks on Cameroon, the region had enjoyed a period of relative calm. The last attack was in August 2017 when Boko Haram kidnapped six siblings from Moskota, after killing their father. All the children, aged between three and 15, later managed to escape when their guard fell asleep. They were found by vigilantes and handed over to the Cameroon military.

Police reported that at least 13 people had been killed in clashes that broke out on Monday (26 February) between Christian and Muslim youths in Kaduna state. Police commissioner Austin Iwar said: “We don’t want to jump to conclusions as to what led to the mayhem. The speculation was that some Christian boys were not happy that their girls are befriending Muslim boys.”

Parts of Kaduna state lies in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region, where thousands of Christians have lost their lives in recent years in non-Boko Haram related violence. This has been marked by a growing number of attacks on Christian farmers by mainly Muslim Hausa-Fulani herdsmen. Last year researchers said that in 2016 violence in the Middle Belt had accounted for more deaths than those caused by Boko Haram.

110 schoolgirls still missing
Meanwhile, an attack on The Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapche, part of northern Nigeria’s Borno state, has led to fears of “another Chibok”.

Most of the 926 students escaped, were rescued or later returned to the school, but an estimated 110 girls are unaccounted for. According to Reuters, two girls were killed.

It took the Nigerian government a week to confirm that 110 girls had been kidnapped, reported AP, and only on Tuesday (27 February) were their names released.

Leah Sherubu is the only Christian student among the list of missing girls, in what is a Muslim-dominated area.

President Muhammadu Buhari said the kidnapping was a “national disaster” and apologised to the girls’ families.

The military said it withdrew from Dapchi weeks before the attack because the town was “relatively calm” and its troops were needed elsewhere.

Kidnapping of Christian Girls in Kaduna, Nigeria Leads to Casualties, Area Christians Say

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim residents of Kasuwan Magani in northern Nigeria yesterday killed 12 Christians after an attempt to rescue two Christian teenage girls from Muslims who had kidnapped them and coerced them to convert, area residents told Morning Star News.

James Madaki, a 50-year-old member of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), said another 20 Christians were injured, and that Muslims set homes and shops on fire in the predominantly Christian area of the town in Kaduna state, 31 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of the city of Kaduna.

“The names of those killed are not readily available to me at the moment, but I can confirm to you that they are Christians killed in the Christian area of the town,” Madaki told Morning Star News.

In comments corroborated by another area Christian, Madaki said two Christian teenage girls were abducted and forcefully converted to Islam two weeks ago, and that they were being held hostage in the house of the Muslim leader in Kasuwan Magani.

“The case was reported to the police, and the girls were not rescued, so some Christians decided to rescue the girls, but the Muslims in the town attacked them,” Madaki said. “The Muslims did not just attack the Christians that went to rescue the girls, but also went round town attacking Christians they sighted and burned houses belonging to Christians.”

Those killed and wounded belong to the ECWA, Baptist, Assemblies of God and Seventh-day Adventist churches, as well as Pentecostal churches in the town, he said.

“As I talk to you, 12 Christians have been killed and 20 others injured and are being been taken to hospitals in the city of Kaduna,” he said.

He said the violence broke out at about 10:30 a.m. following the attempt to rescue the girls.

Another resident of Kasuwan Magani, Omega Funom, corroborated Madaki’s account in a text message.

“The crisis here occurred because two Christian underage girls were kidnapped and forced to become Muslims by some Muslims in this town,” Funom said. “This is the practice by Muslims in Kaduna state. They abduct small Christian girls and force them to become Muslims, and when Christians reject this, they attack them to create the impression that there’s a religious crisis.”

He told Morning Star News that the sanctuary of Assemblies of God Church in the town was burned down yesterday during the attack on Christians.

“The Assembly of God Church was burnt down,” Funom wrote. “Muslims were armed with AK-47 guns as they attacked Christians. This is a Jihad by the Muslims.”

Nigerian press reports indicated, without citing sources, that the violence resulted from Christian and Muslim youths clashing over their girlfriends dating men of the other faith.

The area, which has seen several religious clashes, is a predominantly Christian community under political control of Muslims. Christians have been the victims of many unprovoked attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Kaduna state.

The Rev. John Hayap, spokesman for the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Northern Nigeria Chapter, told Morning Star News he was saddened over attacks on Christians and forceful conversions of Christian girls by Muslim leaders.

“There have been such forceful conversion of teenage Christian girls by Muslim leaders in northern Nigeria, and the Nigerian government has not been able to put an end to this,” he said. “I feel very sad about such violence on Christians, but what more can we do than to pray and ask for God’s intervention. We”ll continue to preach peace and tolerance in our churches no matter the level of provocation from our Muslim neighbors.”

Mukhtar Aliyu, police spokesman for the Kaduna State Command, told Morning Star News only that there was a sectarian clash.

“Yes, there was crisis in Kasuwan Magani town today, and we are working towards restoring peace and order in the area,” he said yesterday (Feb. 26).

Samuel Aruwan, media aide to the Kaduna state governor, told Morning Star News that an effort was underway to assist the injured and the displaced from Kasuwan Magani.

“The State Emergency Management Agency has been directed to take inventory of damages and provide relief materials to victims with immediate effect,” he said.

Abuja Shooting

In Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja, a worship service was disrupted on Sunday (Feb. 25) when unidentified gunmen shot at worshippers, wounding a security guard.

The shooting at 10 a.m. into the building of the ECWA Good News Church in Durumi, near Garki, forced members of the congregation to scamper to safety and abandon the service, church member Stephen Markus, 35, told Morning Star News by phone.

“Rabo Danboyi, the security officer manning the entrance into our church, was shot and injured on the leg by the gunmen, and he’s currently being treated at the Federal Medical Centre here in Abuja,” Markus said. “When we heard gunshots and bullets hitting church walls, we all ran out in different directions. Some said the attackers were Boko Haram terrorists who attacked us but were resisted by our church’s security guards.”

After about 30 minutes, the pandemonium subsided, he said.

“Some of us who braved to return to the worship sanctuary learned that the shooting was done by some unknown gunmen,” Markus said.

The pastor and other church leaders could not be reached for comment. Daniel Kadzai, national president of the youth wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN), confirmed the attack by unknown gunmen in a text message to Morning Star News.

Police authorities in Abuja confirmed the church shooting but declined to give further details.

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.

Nigeria ranked 14th on Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.

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