VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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Nigerian news reports Boko Haram executes second aide worker

(Voice of the Persecuted) Nigerian news sources are reporting shocking news that Boko Haram terrorists have executed the second International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) aide worker, Hauwa Leman.  ICRC had begged the Nigerian government to intervene, it is sad their cries have gone unheard.

In a report first published by TheCable, the terrorist group vowed to keep Leah Sharibu, the Dapchi Christian schoolgirl, as “a slave for life”.

The Nigerian government said it was shocked and saddened by the killing of another aid worker by the insurgent group.

In a statement issued in London on Monday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, described her execution as “dastardly, inhuman and ungodly”, saying nothing can justify the shedding of the blood of innocent people.

“We are deeply pained by this killing, just like we were by the recent killing of the first aid worker.”

“However, we will keep the negotiations open and continue to work to free the innocent women who remain in the custody of their abductors, he said.”

Atiku Abubakar, Former Vice President (1999-2007), I’m deeply saddened by the murder of Hauwa Leman, an ICRC aid worker, by terrorists. I implore the Federal Government to deploy every reasonable tool at its disposal to bring Leah Shuaibu and all the children in Boko Haram captivity home. (photo)

About 3 hours ago, VOP began receiving the chatter of this heartbreaking report. Please keep praying!

 

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Boko Haram threatens to kill Christian teenager

(Voice of the Persecuted) Urgent prayers needed for Nigerian Christian teenager threatened to be executed today by Boko Haram. 15 year old Leah Sharibu was among over 100 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from a school in Dapchi, Northern Nigeria on Feb. 19, 2018. It was a kidnapping that mirrored what happened in Chibok four years earlier when 276 girls were abducted from the school in Chibok, Borno State. A month after the Dapchi abduction on March 22 the militants released 104 of the schoolgirls, with the exception of Leah. The teenager was the only Christian in the group. Boko Haram members told Leah to renounce her Christian faith and become a Muslim or they would not let her go. The Muslim schoolgirls begged her to do it and go home with them, but she refused to deny her faith in Jesus and is still a captive of the Boko Haram. The Nigerian government has been bombarded with pleas, including those from the international community, to step up and secure Leah’s immediate release.

A month ago, Boko Haram militants killed one of three Red Cross workers being held as their captives. The militants gave a one month deadline to kill Leah and the two others unless the Nigerian government met the radical group’s demands for their release. Today marks that deadline!

We ask that you pray with us for young Leah and the Red Cross workers.

…for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Rom. 14:8-9

The Apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Cor. 5:8, we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

Our brothers and sisters in the New Testament did not fear martyrdom. In fact, they considered the martyrs crown to be an honor and read in Revelation 20 that the martyrs will reign with Jesus in heaven.

Not to promote a cult of martyrdom, but to encourage that we need not fear what the enemy will do. Rejoice that Christ has conquered death and is victor over all. The persecuted church in Nigeria and around the world is not a “victimized” church but part of the global, persecuted church who is a “victorious” church because the bride of Christ follows a “victorious” Savior.  The Son, who has conquered death, sits at the right hand of God the Father.

Only God knows what will happen to Leah Sharibu, this day, or in the days to follow.  Pray for her release and let us also pray and rejoice that His good, acceptable and perfect will will be done to bring Him glory.  For Leah Sharibu, our dear sister, belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. Not jihadists or even the devil can snatch her out of the hand of Jesus.

Let us pray for God’s will to be done in this situation that will bring him glory.
Let us pray that Leah will be comforted, encouraged, and strengthened in her heart by the overwhelming presence of God.
Let us pray that Leah will know the overwhelming love of God in her situation.
Let us pray that Leah’s parents and relatives be comforted.
Let us pray the Nigerian church will take heart from Leah’s testimony.
Let us pray that the Nigerian church will rise up and be the church that God wants it to be. That the Nigerian believers will be the light of Christ in the darkness of that nation.
Let us pray the Boko Haram and Fulani will see the light of Christ and embrace Jesus.
Prayer is our greatest weapon. James reminds us that the prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect (James 5:16).
Leah said early on in her captivity that she would not deny Christ. Brothers and sisters let us not deny her by refusing to pray for her. Let us keep her, the Nigerian church and the global persecuted church in our prayers.
Let us keep on praying for those who were in the shadow of the cross.

 

More than 20 Christians drown escaping Fulani atackers

The five villages are all situated along the Benue River. (World Watch Monitor)

(World Watch Monitor) A pastor was one of at least 27 people who lost their lives following fresh attacks carried out by Fulani militants on five predominantly Christian communities in northeast Nigeria in recent days. Many of them drowned as they attempted to escape via the local river.

Various sources contacted by World Watch Monitor confirmed that the attacks took place between 13 to 16 September, and affected the villages of Gon, Bolki, Ndumusu, Yotti and Yanga, in Numan local government area (LGA), Adamawa state.

This is the same area where 3,000 homes were destroyed in December 2017, after fighter jets sent by the Nigerian Air Force were alleged to have fired rockets at villages where Fulani herdsmen were attacking Christian residents, according to a February report by Amnesty International.

A local pastor, who wanted to remain anonymous for security reasons, said 27 people had been buried following the latest attacks, which targeted communities along the Benue River. He added that, on hearing sounds of guns, many were scared and fled into the bush, or drowned attempting to escape via the river as they could not swim. He said that ten people are still missing, four from Yanga and six from Bolki.

“Nobody knows the whereabouts of these people missing. Since their dead bodies are not found, it is too early to declare them dead. We will give them the benefit of doubt; maybe some of them may return home to their families,” the pastor said.

Rev. Gerison Ezekiel Killa, 43, of the Boiki Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, was one of those who drowned. He is survived by his wife and six children.

More than 45 others were injured. The assailants also looted and burned down many homes, and stole cattle.

Rahab Solomon, a survivor from Bolki village, said the attackers stormed their community at about 3pm and began shooting indiscriminately.

“My husband and I went to Numan to my pick up our children around 2pm. At about 3pm, while we were on our way back home, we heard that our village was under attack and that three persons were killed,” she recalled.

“We couldn’t go back home because we were told that our house was burnt. So we came to stay in this camp.

“The next day [14 September] we called my husband’s brother and he told us that the Fulani chased our people and killed so many of them. Those who tried to run through the river were shot and many who tried to escape through the river, but could not swim, died as well; those who could swim were able to survive. We heard that over 25 bodies were recovered from the river. The exact number of people who died in the attack is yet to be known as the place is still under attack.

“We were told that the Fulani militants burnt down all our houses, and some women and children who hid in the farms were abducted by the Fulani. We no longer have a place to call home. Right now we are helpless.”

Jidauna Igiya, the head of Gon village, who survived the attack, recalled the moment his village was attacked:

“On Sunday [16 September], we were home with our families; we did not know that the Fulani were coming to attack us. Although we heard rumours earlier that there was a planned attack by the Fulani on Pasham and Lau villages, so we did not think they will attack us since we did not receive such messages, but at about 4pm, we heard gunshot sounds. Everybody in the village sought cover and began to run for safety, as the Fulani were shooting and burning houses.

“The Fulani burnt all our houses. No house is standing right now and we cannot go back to our villages. The Fulani also moved from our village to Ndumusu, from Ndumusu to Yanga, from Yanga to Bolki, and continued their attack, killing more people and burning more houses. They took away our cattle and looted our foodstuff and property and burnt the remaining things they could not take away. Twenty-six people were killed in our village, Gon, while two others were wounded.

“During the attack, we tried to call security forces but none came to our rescue. We managed to put our families, children, women and old people through the bush and that is how we were able to be saved. Right now we are all scattered. Some of us are still in the bush, taking shelter around Gon north, while some of our families are in Numan and others in other villages.

“Most people who tried to escape through the river during the attack lost their lives as the Fulani chased them because they could not swim. It is not easy for us right now to find food to eat. We have to go to nearby villages to get food for our survival.”

Responding to the attack, the state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop Stephen Mamza, lamented that innocent Christians were being “killed by these so-called herdsmen on a daily basis, without security forces responding appropriately to stop them from hurting Christians”.

He said the “incessant attacks on Christians has led to hunger and starvation, adding that if these Christians are not aided many will die of starvation”.

Mamza said some them who fled to Numan are taking refuge in a local primary school, while others are staying with relatives.

Solomon Faider, an eyewitness who fled from Ndumusu and took refuge in a relative’s house in Numan, said the herdsmen attacks on Christian farmers in southern Adamawa state have “gone on for three or four years now, without the government or anybody else finding a solution”.

“There seems to be collusion between the military and the killer herdsmen group,” he said.

“Where the suspected killer herdsmen are reported to be attacking from is called Abbare. This place is just a 30 minutes’ drive from Numan, and the military have been informed of the impending attack four hours before it happened.”

The member representing Numan at the Adamawa state House of Assembly, Sodom Tayedi, also lamented the failure of the security forces to prevent the attacks.

“There are soldiers camped in Abbare, yet these attackers will always mobilise from that Abbare”, she told World Watch Monitor. “There is never a time they’ll attack and I don’t call security forces as member representing the constituency.

“I just called the Brigade Commander again and he assured me that troops are on their way to the area.

“We had intelligence report of the attack and reported to the paramount ruler [local chief], who always passes the same information to the security forces, but they [the Fulani] will always come and destroy our community,” she lamented.

Tayedi also said that even if the soldiers were able to mobilise, they may not be able to reach the affected villages due to flooding problems at this time.

At the time of writing, the police spokesman in the state, Habibu Musa, was yet to comment on the attack.

Leah Sharibu’s Father, Church Raise Plea after Boko Haram Threat

Parents in Chibok, Nigeria mourn the loss of girls kidnapped in 2014. (VOA)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Following disclosure of a video by Boko Haram Islamic extremists threatening to kill Christian high school student Leah Sharibu within one month, Christian leaders in Nigeria have declared three days of prayer and fasting.

In the video disclosed last week, the terrorists are shown killing an aid worker. In a comment to Morning Star News, the 15-year-old Leah’s father, Nathan Sharibu, pleaded with the terrorists to have mercy on his daughter, who was not released with more than 100 kidnapped high school girls earlier this year because she refused to convert to Islam.

“I plead that the leaders of the group have mercy on my daughter and spare her life,” Sharibu told Morning Star News by phone on Monday (Sept. 24). “I also want to plead with the Nigerian government to do all they can to secure the release of my daughter, Leah. She does not deserve to die in this cruel way.”

Leaders of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Sharibu’s church, directed all its congregations within and outside Nigeria to observe three days of fasting and prayers (Sept. 24-26).

Signed by the Rev. Yunusa Nmadu Jr., ECWA general secretary, the letter, entitled “URGENT PRAYER CONCERN,” calls for prayer and fasting for Leah’s release and that of other Boko Haram abductees. Two aid workers with the International Committee of the Red Cross,

Hauwa Mohammed Liman and Alice Loksha Ngaddah, remain hostage following the terrorists’ killing of Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, 25, a mother of two who worked as midwife with the ICRC.

Dated Sept. 19, the letter calls on Christians across the world to join the church in praying for their release.

“We urge other churches worldwide to join us,” it reads. “Thank you for standing in the gap.”

The head of Nigeria’s Anglican Communion also voiced his concern. The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), said in a statement after the church’s synod met in Minna, north-central Nigeria, that the Nigerian government must undertake all means possible to secure the release of Leah and others.

“No sacrifice is too much to get these girls released,” Okoh said. “In the interest of democracy, freedom of religion and national cohesion, sufficient effort should be made to bring their ordeal and that of their parents and families to an end.”

The late Khorsa and the two other health workers were abducted on March 1 in a Boko Haram attack on Rann, on Nigeria’s far northeastern border.

In the Boko Haram video, made available to Nigerian online outlet The Cable, the insurgents assert they made contact with the government about the hostages but received no response.

“We contacted the government through writing and also sent audio messages, but the government have ignored us,” a spokesman of the group says. “So, here is a message of blood. The other nurse and midwife will be executed in similar manner in one month, including Leah Sharibu.”

The Nigerian government last week confirmed that the group sent the video to officials in which the terrorists threaten to kill Leah and the aid workers. Garba Shehu, a media aide to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, said in a statement that the video showed the killing of Khorsa, kidnapped with the two other aid workers in Borno state.

“The government of Nigeria strongly condemns this reprehensible and inhuman act,” Buhari was quoted as saying in the statement. “No religion permits the killing of the innocent.”

He appealed to the United Nations and other international agencies to prevail on Boko Haram “to stop these acts of extreme barbarism” and said his government will make efforts to secure the release of Leah, the two Red Cross workers and all other Nigerian citizens held captive by Boko Haram.

In an audio recording released by a local journalist on Aug. 27, Leah says in her native Hausa that she wants the Nigerian government and “people of goodwill” to rescue her.

She and the other girls were kidnapped on Feb. 19 from Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School, Dapchi, in northeast Nigeria’s Yobe state. All were released in March except Leah.

Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 1,000 children in Nigeria since 2013, according to CNN.

About 100 of 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from the town of Chibok, in Borno state, in 2014 are still missing.

Boko Haram, whose name is loosely translated as, “Western education is a sin,” has fought for nine years to impose sharia (Islamic law) on all of Nigeria, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing more than 2 million. Boko Haram militants reportedly warned parents of the returned Dapchi girls not to send their daughters back to school.

In 2015 the Nigerian military began taking back most of the territory Boko Haram had controlled, but many areas remain, and the terrorists are still mounting isolated attacks. Jubilee Campaign reports that, according to figures from the Stefanos Foundation, Boko Haram in 2017 took responsibility for attacks that claimed more than 650 lives.

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.

VOP note: It’s not to late to pray for Leah Sharibu’s release. Please join us in praying for her along with others held captive (thousands since the insurgency), our Nigerian brothers and sisters and the nation of Nigeria.

250 Killed In 2 Months & 2000 Recorded Since Jan 2018 In Renewed Anti Christian Violence In Nigeria

(Intersociety Nigeria: Sunday, 16th September 2018)-The agonies of Christians in Nigeria have uncontrollably continued and escalated with possibility of same being adopted as a reelection strategy by the Muslim led central Government in the country. It must be stated clearly here again that anti Christian attacks including killings and destruction of properties and sacred places and symbols of worship by Fulani jihadists are solely perpetrated or targeted against members, properties and sacred places of worship of members of the Christian faith in industrial scale as well as members of other non Muslim population in Nigeria. It is still on record that no single Muslim or Mosque has been targeted for death or destruction by the Jihadist terrorists in the country or any part thereof.

Statistically, a total of no fewer than 2000 Christian lives have been lost to Fulani jihadists alone since January 2018 with no fewer than 250 killed between 15th July and 15th September 2018. No fewer than 120 were killed in less than ten days in July or between 2nd and 11th July 2018. The killings briefly went down between 15th July and first week of August 2018 with about 30 killings before their resurged increase since the last week of August to 15th September 2018; leading to death of over 100 Christians. Totality of these brings the total number of innocent and defenseless Christians slaughtered by Fulani jihadists in the past eight and half months or between 1st January and 15th September 2018 to over 2000. The figure did not include the number of Christians killed by Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria since January 2018 or “battle-field related” deaths.

The anti Christian killings have gone so bad that they are now being celebrated by many members of the Nigerian northern Muslim population especially on social media. A clear case in point was the barrage of social media attacks, aspersions and vituperations cast at or poured on a Pentecostal pastor who went on social media to appeal for western intervention and assistance over the incessancy of anti Christian butcheries in Nigeria including the recent massacre by Fulani jihadists of Pastor Adamu Gyang Wurim, his wife and three children in Plateau State.

From the look of things, these killings have not only raised the “popularity” of President Muhammadu Buhari among teeming and crudely uneducated young Muslim population in northern Nigeria, but also appeared to have made him to be seen among them as “pure Muslim/defender of Allah”; an unholy edge he appears to have over his fellow northern Muslim presidential hopefuls in the coming 2019 presidential poll.

The President’s caliphate style of administration or governance in the country is also believed in some social quarters to have gone down well with many of the educated and uneducated Muslim population in northern part of the country particularly his Fulani kinsmen and women; culminating in recent issuance of threats of violence against his fellow Muslim presidential hopefuls to back off from the race to allow the President as “the only man standing”.

A clear case in point was recent threats of violence including death made by one of the leaders of the mother body of Fulani Herdsmen in Nigeria called “the Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN)”. The open threats of violence were issued against the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who is of a Yoruba-Fulani Muslim root.

Another fellow Muslim Presidential hopeful in the coming 2019 presidential poll, Alhaji Atikur Abubakar had also recently cried out over threats to his life and that of his wife and children by unnamed group of persons strongly believed to link to the Fulani jihadists.  These emergent threats to lives and properties of political opponents of President Muhammadu Buhari by the Fulani jihadists are a clear pointer to the midwifery, aiding and abetting of the atrocities and impunity of the Fulani jihadists by the Administration of the President.

There are also reports of sustained state actor and non state actor threats against members of Christian faith in Northern Nigeria particularly in Kaduna State where the State Government recently on 28th May 2018 issued a proclamation Islamizing the State traditional stools and institutions by changing them to “Emirate Council or Caliphate” including those located in Christian dominated Southern Kaduna. In some places, holy bibles are reportedly burnt or destroyed while in others Christian prayers are no longer said in the open. Open Christian evangelism is becoming life threatening in such areas except in areas populated in large numbers by members of the Christian faith.

Some Christians in some northern parts of the country are also reported to have been so threatened that they no longer worship or meet in clusters or in their church buildings except use of teleconferencing and other online points of contact. The negative effects of Fulani jihadists’ killings or untamed violence against northern Christians have further made some Christian faithful to undergo post traumatic stress disorder (PTSDs); as well as raising, emboldening and radicalizing other fanatical Muslim groups and individuals to further let loose on their Christian neighbors including threatening and shutting them off with reckless abandon from their religious beliefs and practices. In all these, Governments at the State and Federal levels including their security agencies either watch and do nothing or collude, aid and abet the crimes and protect their perpetrators.

The Christian agonies in Nigeria include killing of Christian children and busting, using machetes and guns, of pregnancies of the heavily pregnant Christian women leading to their death and that of their unborn children; killing of other Christians (i.e. women, children, the physically challenged, young men and women, the aged and the sick) in their sleep, sick and retirement apartments, farms and other work places as well as sacred places of worship. The agonies also involve property destruction involving land seizure and forceful occupation as well as attacks, burning and destruction of sacred places and symbols of Christian worship including churches, altars, monasteries, seminaries, chapels, schools, cassocks, holy bibles, chaplets, statutes, crucifixes, etc.

Going by our updates following recent general evaluation of various reports and investigative findings on killing of Christians and destruction of their sacred places of worship in Nigeria particularly since January 2018, no fewer than 2000 Christian lives have been lost in the hands of the Fulani jihadists hiding under the cover of “Fulani Herdsmen”. The said Jihadists carry out their untamed atrocities using the existing primitive pastoralist cattle herding network manned by cattle pastoralists called “Fulani Herdsmen”.

The primitive network involves downward movements of herds of cattle and their herders into the rain forest region of Nigeria with associated makeshift settlements inside bushes and forests; now heavily guarded by the lopsidedly composed and Muslim led Nigerian military formations. The attacks highlighted above are easily launched and coordinated by the jihadists especially at night using the said primitive cattle herding routes and settlements as attack bases and for intelligence gathering; in addition to military and police guard or protection.

Breakdown of Updated Statistics: We had on 2nd July 2018, released the statistics of the anti Christian butcheries in Nigeria, showing that the Fulani jihadists killed no fewer than 1,750 Christians in the first six months of 2018 or January to June. In our follow-up statement of 11th July 2018, the number of Christian victims of the Fulani jihadists’ attacks increased to 1,870, indicating the killing of additional 120 Christians in less than ten days or between 2nd and 11th July 2018. The killings associated with the 120 Christian deaths specifically took place in Adamawa and Taraba villages and communities.

The said general evaluation of the killings by terror Fulani Militia (a.k.a. Fulani Herdsmen), as contained in our special statement of 2nd July 2018, clearly indicated that Benue State recorded the highest number of rural Christian and other non Muslim deaths with no fewer than 600, followed by Plateau State with 400; Taraba 250; Nasarawa 200; Southern Kaduna 100, Adamawa 100 and Kogi State 100. Presently, no fewer than 620 Christian lives have been lost in the past eight and half months (1st January-15th September 2018) in Benue, 450 in Plateau while Adamawa and Taraba States recorded no fewer than 550.

The anti Christian killings later went down especially between 15th July and first week of August 2018 following international media attentions and diplomatic concerns in some western countries, prompting the Nigeria’s Minister of Information to embark on globetrotting and image laundering in selected western countries tagged “killings arising from Farmers-Herdsmen clashes have stopped”. The said few western concerns followed the three days of unstoppable massacre of rural Christians in eleven villages of Plateau State which began on 24th June 2018 leading to death of no fewer than 250 defenseless  Christian citizens including pregnant women, children, other women and men.

The said reduction resulted in fewer death of about 30 Christians between July 15and first week of August 2018, compared to alarming number of deaths recorded in the previous months. The sudden reduction was also strongly believed to have been unconnected with directive of the political and military patrons of the jihadists to cease a momentary fire to possibly douse the said selected western media and diplomatic pressure on political leadership in Nigeria.

However, the killings have returned at alarming rate especially since the last week of August 2018, leading to killing of no fewer than 250 more Christians as at 15th September 2018. The figure included no fewer than 120 Christians killed between 3rd and 11th July 2018 most of which took place in Adamawa and Taraba States. Between 15th July and first week of August 2018, no fewer than 30 more Christians were killed in the old Middle Belt; and between last week of August and 15th September 2018, over 100 more Christians have died in the hands of Fulani jihadists who hide under the cover of “Fulani Herdsmen”.

Christians in Nigeria are also most likely to have lost not less than 500 churches and other church related facilities since January 2018. The Government of Benue State has just on Thursday, 13th September 2018 disclosed that “over 560 Christians have been killed in the Fulani Herdsmen attacks in the State between January and August 2018” during which half of five Christian Local Government Areas of the State were sacked. The State Governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom named the affected five LGAs as Makurdi, Gwer West, Guma, Logo and Kwande Local Government Areas.

In the latest round of killings, Adamawa and Plateau States are worst hit while Benue, Kaduna and Taraba States are not left out. By the Punch Newspaper account of 15th September 2018, no fewer than 51 Christians including a Pastor of the Lutheran Church lost their lives to Fulani jihadists in coordinated attacks launched on Thursday night in villages of Gon, Nzumosu, Bolki, Nyanga and Bukuto Numan Local Government Area of Adamawa State.

The Adamawa Christian villages above mentioned have also lost hundreds of Christians and dozens of churches in the hands of the Nigerian security forces and armed Fulani jihadists since December 2017 including over 80 Christians killed on 4th December 2017 in simultaneous air raids and ground attacks simultaneously launched by Nigerian war jets and armed Fulani jihadists. The Government of Nigeria initially denied it but later claimed “they were armed bandits terrorizing the area being chased away by Government forces”.

 The Fulani jihadists who were reported to have stormed the Adamawa villages on Thursday night, 13th September 2018 from neighboring Abbare in Taraba State in large numbers also burnt three villages and churches after slaughtering no less than 15 Christians and a Pastor. The Punch Newspaper report further quoted a resident of Bolki village, Mr. James Nzonzo as saying that “the boat escaping with 40 endangered (Christian) women escaping the attacks got capsized killing 35 and leaving only five rescued alive”. The attacks and killings were independently confirmed by our local contact who is also a Christian Pastor in the area. The Punch Newspaper also quoted a Member representing the Numan State Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Mrs. Sodom Tayedi as further confirming and condemning the attacks.

Plateau State has lost no fewer than 30 Christians since last week of August 2018 and 50 since 15th July. The renewed anti Christian killings in the State included not less than eight Christians killed by the Fulani jihadists on 28th August 2018 also reported by the Punch Newspaper of 30th August 2018, among other media reports. The attacks launched at churches and houses in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the State claimed the lives of no fewer than eight Christians including Pastor Adamu Gyang Wurim, his wife and three children.

On Sunday night of 2nd September 2018, no fewer than 13 Christians were killed by Fulani jihadists in Latya Village, Du District of Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State. The Telegraph Newspaper report of 3rd September 2018 said that the attacks came late night of Sunday, 2nd September 2018 when the Fulani jihadists stormed the Village and opened fire killing 13 Christians. Not less than five Christians were also killed on Saturday, 18th and Sunday, 19th of August 2018 in Shonong and Kwi villages of Riyom Local Government  as well as in Ndin and Haipang villages at Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State. While two Christians were killed in the former on Saturday night, three others were killed on Sunday night in the latter. The instances above are just to mention but few.

A new government censorship has further been introduced into such anti Christian killings whereby security forces now refer to Fulani jihadists as “unknown gunmen” or “suspected rival cultists”. Some independent media practitioners have also been forced by the country’s undercover security establishments to adopt and use same in their media reports.

It is recalled that during our special interview with the Washington D.C., USA based Christian Post Online, granted on 2nd August and published on 25thAugust 2018, one of the nine questions asked over the raging anti Christian butcheries in Nigeria was premised on “false position and influence by the Federal Government of Nigeria in many western media and diplomatic circles to the effect that killings  in Nigeria have no iota of religious undertone but merely arising from herders-farmers clashes”. Findings also showed that a fortune is spent internationally by the Nigerian Government to sustain this falsehood and misinformation through “international media and diplomatic lobbying”.

The special interview, monitored in Dublin Ireland and published in Washington D.C., strongly found that “the anti Christian killings and killers have persisted and continued because the political authorities in Nigeria that ought to end them are mindlessly found working hand in glove with the killers or encouraging and emboldening them by misinforming the world and doing little or nothing to stop same”.

The present Nigerian military establishments are so partisan or Islamic and jihadist friendly that apart from holistic adoption of the country-wide establishment of “Fulani grazing routes and ranching”, military presence and patrols are maintained in all Fulani herding settlements in the rain forest region of Nigeria particularly those located in Southeast and South-south regions of the country.

Such settlements either have military or police “sedentary or pastoral formations” located around them or they are located in bushes and forests near the already existing ones. The location of Asa main and Ogwe satellite army checkpoints in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State is a clear case in point. It is further found that such settlements or protection of existing ones are routinely done by the military establishments using the cover of “army python dance” and “army crocodile dance” series in Southeast and South-south regions of Nigeria respectively.

We therefore renew our call for end of anti Christian butcheries in Nigeria and scrapping of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and founding of a new and more purposeful Christian body with capacity to rising to the occasion including congregation and aggregation of all Christian bodies and members in Nigeria into a formidable movement with unblemished legitimacy, integrity, courage, boldness, knowledge, means and contacts to secure and protect the lives and properties of Christians and churches in Nigeria. The present CAN is integrity challenged and incapable of leading a secured Christian population and their sacred places and symbols of worship.

Signed:

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair

Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law

Mobile Line: +2348174090052

Email: botchairman@intersociety-ng.org

Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq.

Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program

Email: igboeliobianuju@gmail.com

Chinaza Ndidiamaka Bernard, Esq.

Head, Int’l Justice & Human Rights Program

Kidnapped Schoolgirl Leah Sharibu Appeals for Rescue in Audio Recording

Morning Star News – In an audio recording revealed yesterday, kidnapped Christian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu appeals to the government of Nigeria to win her release from Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, according to several published sources.

Boko Haram released more than 100 schoolgirls about four weeks after kidnapping them on Feb. 19 but held Leah, 15, because she refused to convert to Islam, Morning Star News revealed on March 26.

In the audio recording obtained by a journalist for Nigerian online news outlet The Cable, Leah says in her native Hausa that she wants the government and “people of goodwill” to rescue her.

“I am begging you to treat me with compassion, I am calling on the government, particularly, the president, to pity me and get me out of this serious situation,” she says on the audio.

CNN today reported that her father, Sharibu Nathan, confirmed that the voice is that of his daughter.

Boko Haram, which seeks to impose Islamic law (sharia) throughout Nigeria, kidnapped the girls from a boarding school in Dapchi, the Government Girls Science Technical College, in nothereastern Nigeria’s Yobe state.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, told CNN that intelligence personnel were analyzing the voice recording, and that officials would issue a statement after studying it.

Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 1,000 children in Nigeria since 2013, according to CNN.

About 100 of 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from the town of Chibok, in Borno state, in 2014 are still missing.

Boko Haram, whose name is loosely translated as, “Western education is a sin,” has fought for nine years to impose sharia (Islamic law) on all of Nigeria, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing more than 2 million. Boko Haram militants reportedly warned parents of the returned Dapchi girls not to send their daughters back to school.

In 2015 the Nigerian military began taking back most of the territory Boko Haram had controlled, but many areas remain, and the terrorists are still mounting isolated attacks.

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.

Please pray for this dear girl, her release and her family.

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

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

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!

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.

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