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Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call (Feb. 6, 2020): Nigeria

2 weeks of prayer/2 years of captivity. Photo courtesy of the Leah Foundation

(Voice of the Persecuted) The Leah Foundation is calling attention to February 19th, which marks two years that Leah Sharibu will be held in captivity by the Boko Haram. Leah’s family is asking Christians across the globe to pray for Leah each day for two weeks beginning Feb. 5th through Feb. 19th.

Nigeria

Population: 196 million, Christians 91 million

Extremist attacks and religious oppression! Christians in the northern region and in the Middle Belt suffer from violence perpetrated by Islamic extremist groups such as militant Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram. Such violence often results in loss of life, physical injury, as well as loss of property. As a result of the violence, Christians are also being dispossessed of their land and means of livelihood—and Christians with a Muslim background also face rejection from their own families

In some northern states, increasing numbers of Christians are dressing like Muslims to make their faith less obvious and reduce the chances of attack. Young Christians in these states are frequently denied access to higher education, and Christians have been asked to give up their faith in order to obtain work. Applications for permits to build churches are ignored.

The situation is especially difficult for converts from Islam to Christianity. They usually are assisted in underground locations for fear of being persecuted or even killed. In the north they often have to flee their homes and even the state. This is far less likely to occur in the south.

February 2019 in Gusau, Zamfara State: Bandits abducted and killed an Anglican priest from the Diocese of Sokoto. His wife and children were also abducted and their whereabouts are unknown.

In April 2019 in Madagali, Adamawa State: At about 5:40 p.m., Boko Haram fighters invaded predominantly Christian Kuda community in Madagali Local Government Area (LGA) of Adamawa State. Over 30 houses were set on fire and 23 people were killed, 20 of whom were Christians. Residents left the village to seek refuge in Gulak and other relatively safer parts of Adamawa State.

August 2019 in Lau LGA, Taraba State: A conflict between a radical Fulani herder and a farmer was the trigger for attacks and reprisal acts that continued for weeks and resulted in 65 deaths (most of them Christians) and 18 burned villages (with 15 churches, two elementary schools and a health centers destroyed). Security forces that were deployed in the area did not intervene; on the contrary, in June 2019 many youths were arrested during protests against the violence and inaction of the local authorities.

· Pray to the Lord to protect believers from violence by militant Islamic groups in the north which often ends in loss of life and physical injury as well as loss of property.

· Pray for those dealing with the effects of recent violence against them. Please pray for the Lord’s provision in in all their physical and spiritual needs.

· Thousands of women remain in Boko Haram captivity. Pray for their liberation.

· Pray for those who have been freed or managed to escape to receive proper physical and emotional care. Please pray for the Lord’s provision in in all their physical and spiritual needs.

· Pray for the women and girls who escaped or were the set free after recanting their faith. The trauma, the remorse and guilt for denying the Lord, the inability to forgive themselves causes to them to have suicidal thoughts or to try to kill themselves. Pray that the Lord will connect them with Christian counselors.

· Pray for the women and girls who escaped or were the set free that their families can overcome their cultural prejudices and welcome and care from them.

· Pray for the Christian women and girls who escaped or were the set free can keep their baby.  [Authorities want to take these children  and place with Muslims, because the child was fathered by a Muslim and therefore is a Muslim]

· Pray to the Lord that Christians living in the southern part of the country, in an environment in which their religious freedom is respected, will become more caring for their brothers and sisters from the North.

· Pray for greater engagement from the Church in South with the Church in northern parts of the country.

·  Pray the Nigerian church will be able to withstand pressure to give up the faith and have the grace to respond to their challenges in a way that glorifies Christ.

· Pray to the Lord that the believers will have courage, wisdom and boldness to reach out to Muslim neighbors.

· Pray to the Lord to give NGOs favor that they will be able to provide much needed spiritual and other support to believers.

· Pray that the Lord will strengthen His Church and that it will continue to grow in spite of the hostile environment.

Again, we want to lift up two persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice that this year will be the year where they will be set free. And also pray for pastor Wang Yi to be released from Prison.

Many blessings,

Andy and Nadia Dybvik, Prayer Call Moderators, Persecuted Watch

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What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

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

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers. Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. Since the passing of Brother Blaine Scogin, we thank you for your patience as we have transitioned into this new season. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

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

Christians Slain, Wounded, Kidnapped in Plateau State, Nigeria

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed two Christians in separate attacks in Plateau state this month, in addition to the 13 Christians from the same denomination killed on Jan. 8, sources said.

Herdsmen invaded Torok village in Riyom County on Jan. 20, killing Reuben Bulus, a 25-year-old member of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), according to Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri, a human rights activist with the Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria.

“Bulus was killed at about 7:10 p.m. on Jan. 20 when herdsmen invaded his village,” Mwantiri told Morning Star News.

In Gako village, near Rim in Riyom County, another COCIN member, Ngam Stephen Dachung, was killed by herdsmen on Jan. 1, Mwantiri said.

“He was shot dead at a point at Gako-Diyan junction where many lives were previously lost to herdsmen ambushes in the area,” he said.

On Jan. 8, 13 COCIN were members slain in Plateau state’s Kulben village, Mangu County, in an attack by about 20 herdsmen that also wounded three others.

In addition, Mwantiri said, herdsmen killed a Christian woman, Mary Machief, and her baby daughter in Plateau state’s Bokkos County on Dec. 16. The herdsmen attacked them in Machief’s father’s home in Kunnet village that night, relatives told Morning Star News.

“It’s still a shock to me, I wish it were a dream,” said one relative.

Another relative said Machief was not killed instantly but died later from wounds.

“We all prayed for God to give her quick healing, but God deemed it fit to take her to eternal home,” he said.

On Dec. 22 in Tanjol near Jol in Riyom County, another COCIN member, Ayuba Lanjo, was wounded in an attack by herdsmen, said Mwantiri, who is also an attorney.

“Ayuba Lanjo was ambushed by some herdsmen; he was shot at and injured,” Mwantiri said.

Women Kidnapped

Near Bukuru in Jos South County, herdsmen on Jan. 21 kidnapped Christie Peter Mwankon in Kwata village.

The 26-year-old COCIN member, daughter of a former Plateau state tourism official, was abducted after the herdsmen shot their way into the village and broke into her sister’s house, sources said.

“Christie Peter was kidnapped at about 2 a.m. in her sister’s house when the herdsmen broke into the house and kidnapped the graduate of Ahmadu Bello University-Zaria,” said area resident Solomon Kogi. “The herdsmen are demanding a ransom of 5 million naira [$US13,735] from her family.”

A spokesman for the Plateau State Police Command, Mathias Tyopev, told reporters that police are making all efforts to rescue her following the attack on the community.

“We are working with the family to secure the release of the girl that was taken away during the attack,” Tyopev reportedly said.

In northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, a student of the University of Maiduguri kidnapped on Jan. 9 along with the later-executed Ropvil Daciya Dalep by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), an offshoot of Boko Haram, remains missing, sources said.

Lillian Daniel Gyang was abducted along the Damaturu-Maiduguri Highway outside Maidiguri at about 5 p.m., along with Dalep and another male Christian student, all three being members of the COCIN, said Emmanuel Zakka of Jos, who is close to her family. Originally from Foron in Barkin  Ladi County in Plateau state, Gyang is 20 years old and a first-year student of zoology at the University of Maiduguri, he said.

Sen. Istifanus Gyang, a parliamentarian representing Plateau state in Nigeria’s National Assembly, appealed to the Nigeria government and the United Nations to quickly intervene and hasten the release and safe return of all Christians kidnapped by terrorists.

Samuel Mwankon, a member of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Nigeria’s National Assembly, representing the Barkin Ladi area, decried the abduction and killings of Plateau state residents.

“In September 2019, two innocent youths from Mangu Local Government Area were brutally murdered in cold blood by Boko Haram,” Mwankon said in a press statement. “I call on all meaningful citizens of Plateau state to be more united and steadfast in prayers. I sympathize and empathize with the families of those murdered and join my faith to pray for the release of those still on Boko Haram captivity.”

Kidnapped Christian Student Executed by Islamic Extremists in Northeast Nigeria

Young child extremist executes kidnapped Christian student.

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Islamic State-affiliated terrorists have executed a Christian university student kidnapped earlier this month in northeast Nigeria, sources said.

In a video that Site Intelligence Group reported was released on the Islamic State’s Amaq news website, a boy of indeterminate age with a pistol shoots and kills Ropvil Daciya Dalep, a member of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) who was kidnapped on Jan. 9 on the Damaturu-Maiduguri Highway while returning to studies in Maiduguri, Borno state.

The armed, masked boy in the video, a member of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) according to Site, says in the Hausa language that the Christian from Plateau state will be killed in retaliation for “atrocities against us,” possibly referring to Muslim-Christian violence in the 2001 Jos riots.

“This is one of the Christians from Plateau state,” the boy says. “We want to tell all Christians that we have not forgotten what you did to our parents and grandparents. Christians all over the world must know that we will never forget their atrocities against us, until we avenge the bloodshed visited on us.”

The video then shows the boy shooting Dalep in the head from behind, and then in the back, killing him.

After Dalep was kidnapped, his family had received no information about his whereabouts. It is unclear when the execution took place, but Site reported that it took place at an unidentified outdoor area in Borno state.

From Jing village in Plateau state’s Pankshin County, according to a Jos resident originally from the area, Dalep was identified by members of his ethnic Mupun people as the one killed in the video. He was a second-year biology education student at the University of Maiduguri.

ISWAP in 2016 broke off from the rebel terrorist group Boko Haram, which originated in Maiduguri.

The Mupun Cultural and Development Association (MUCDA) on Wednesday (Jan. 22) confirmed the execution of Dalep in a press statement issued in Jos, with MUCDA spokesperson Kenzy Ngupar blaming Boko Haram. Many people in Nigeria make no distinction between ISWAP and Boko Haram.

“We have information that he was abducted on his way to school in Maiduguri, which led to the unfortunate video going ‘round of his killing,” Ngupar said. “At this point we condemn in its entirety the senseless abduction and killing of Nigerians in any part of the country and call on the government to step up practical efforts to address this growing menace in our country. MUCDA and indeed the entire Mupun nation is pained by this.”

Fabong Jemchang Yildam, chairman of the Plateau Youth Council (PYC), condemned the killing and declared three days of mourning and prayers among Christians.

“We are indeed pained that our young people have become targets for terrorists despite our peaceful and receptive nature,” Yildam said in a press statement on Wednesday (Jan. 22). “This gruesome murder of an innocent Plateau son is totally unacceptable and unjustifiable. It is an outrage to freedom of religion movement and respect for human lives.”

Saying the PYC strongly believes that humans are born free and equal and should achieve their full potential in a safe and loving society irrespective of background and belief, Yildam said the execution of Dalep was a serious setback in the quest for religious freedom.

“We demand that the perpetrators be brought to justice and receive punishment commensurate with the crime they have committed,” Yildam said. “Government must intensify the war against Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in Nigeria and must ensure the safety of Nigerians anywhere in the country.”

Yildam called on Plateau youths to wear black armbands or black clothes in mourning through Friday (Jan. 24).

“We remain law-abiding even in this period of darkness and mourning,” the PYC spokesperson said. “We also commiserate with the immediate family of the martyr and others whose lives were untimely snuffed out. For the victory of evil over good can only be temporary.”

The Rev. Dennis Bagauri, Lutheran pastor killed in Adamawa state on Jan. 20, 2020. (File photo)

Lutheran Pastor Killed

In Adamawa state in northeast Nigeria, Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN) officials confirmed the killing of the Rev. Dennis Bagauri at his church site home in the Nassarawa Jereng area, Mayo Belwa County, on Monday (Jan. 20).

He was shot to death the same day the district chairman of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, the Rev. Lawan Andimi, was beheaded by Boko Haram in the Michika area of Adamawa state.

The Rev. Musa Filibus, archbishop of LCCN, issued a press statement on Tuesday (Jan. 21) from the church’s headquarters in Numan town, Adamawa state, saying gunmen believed to be from Boko Haram killed Pastor Bagauri.

“The church leadership condemns in the strongest term the killing of the man of God, who has been in the vineyard of service to God,” Filibus said. “Please pray for the security agents to fish out the killers of our pastor.”

Yola resident Rebecca Musa told Morning Star News in a text message that “the men armed with guns broke into the LCCN where the pastor lives and shot him dead at night when all persons in the area had gone to sleep.”

Besides leading a congregation, Pastor Bagauri also served as an adviser on religious matters to the Adamawa government. The state police commissioner said investigations are underway.

Adamawa Gov. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri on Tuesday (Jan. 21) sent his condolences to the church and the family of the slain pastor, whom he described as “a God-fearing man, easy-going, and with great humility.”

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

Two Young Christian Women Killed in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Members of the Nigerian army. (Wikipedia, VOA Nicolas Pinalult)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed two young Christian women in southern Kaduna state, Nigeria, on Friday (Jan. 17), sources said.

The herdsmen on motorbikes rode into Gora-Gan village in Zango Kataf County at about 5 p.m. shooting villagers on sight, according to a local resident. Luka Biniyat, spokesman for the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), confirmed the killing of Briget Philip, 18, and Priscilla David, 19.

“Both girls, who were secondary school pupils, worshiped at the Catholic parish of Gora-Gan,” Biniyat told Morning Star News.

Wounded in the attack on the predominantly Christian community were 18-year-old Henry Jonathan, 19-year-old Benjamin Peter and Goodluck Andawus, 12, he said.

The herdsmen attacked when people had flocked to the village square where evangelism and social activities are held.

“As the people fled into nearby bushes to take cover, the attackers retreated and left,” area resident Solomon John told Morning Star New by text message. “We are sad about these attacks on our people, which seem to be unending.”

County Council Chairman Elias Manza confirmed to the attack to journalists on Saturday (Jan. 18).

“The injured are currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital, but the good news is that normalcy has been restored to the area,” Manza said.

Kidnapped Aid Workers Released

Two days earlier in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, five aid workers kidnapped by the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) were freed.

The aid workers had been kidnapped by ISWAP, which broke away from Boko Haram in 2016, on Dec. 22 along the Monguno-Maiduguri highway in Borno state as the workers were visiting displaced persons camps to provide medical and food items.

Among the freed aid workers was Jennifer Samuel Ukumbong, whose family resides in Jos. Jummai Markus, a neighbor of the family, told Morning Star News that she called her home on Thursday (Jan. 16) saying she had been released.

“Ever since Jennifer was kidnapped by Boko Haram [formerly allied with ISWAP], her family has been holding prayer vigils and fasting for her release,” Markus said. “In fact, her mother, who’s a widow, was in the church praying for her daughter’s freedom when the news about her rescued filtered in.”

It was not clear how the aid workers’ freedom came about. Peter Afunanya, spokesperson of Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Services, said in a press statement from Abuja that they were rescued by DSS personnel and other security agencies, including the military on Wednesday (Jan. 15).

Ukumbong, along with freed aid workers Asabe Cletus Musa, Arthur Ibojekwe Chima, Adamu Ozeshi and George Danbaba Micheal, were taken to the DSS office in Maiduguri at about 4 p.m. that day, according to the statement.

120 Remain Captive

More than 120 Christians are still being held captive by Islamic extremist groups, including Grace Taku. The aid worker with France-based Action Against Hunger (AAH) was kidnapped by ISWAP in an attack on a convoy in Damasak, Borno State, in July.

“We welcome the release of five aid workers who were kidnapped in northeast Nigeria on Dec. 22,” AAH officials said in a press statement. “But despite this good news, we remain extremely concerned for Grace Taku, who has been held hostage since July 18, 2019. We reiterate our calls for her immediate release.”

Taku is the only survivor of a group of six held since then, according to AAH. Ahmad Salkida, a Nigerian journalist with a close relationship with Boko Haram who reportedly helped facilitate the release of the five Christian aid workers last week, has reported that Taku would be enslaved for life since negotiations for her release with the Nigerian government failed.

Among Christians still held captive are 112 high school girls abducted from a high school in Chibok, Borno state in April 2014. Rights activist Gapani Yangas said in a statement that the girls have been in captivity for more than 2,100 days.

Also captive is Dapchi, Yobe state high school student Leah Sharibu, as well as aid worker Alice Ngadda, Bitrus Z. Bala, the Rev. Lawan Andimi, Patience Ishaku, Awagana Kwagwi, Saratu Kwagwi and others, Yanga said.

Taku and Ngadda are Christian aid workers with organizations helping displaced persons. Ngadda is a mother of two who works with UNICEF.

Also being held is Lilian Gyang, a student of the University of Maiduguri, kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists on Jan. 9 along the Damaturu-Maiduguri highway while she was returning to the university.

Gyang, a first-year student in Zoology, is from Foron in Barkin Ladi County of Plateau state. Sen. Istifanus Gyang, who represents Plateau state in Nigeria’s National Assembly, appealed to the Nigerian government and the United Nations to quickly intervene for the release of Lilian Gyang and others.

Leah Sharibu was the only Christian among 110 girls abducted from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College iin Dapchi, Yobe state, on Feb. 19, 2018. Muslim girls were released while Leah was held back because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.

Boko Haram announced in a video that she and Ngaddah were now slaves.

NIGERIA: Boko Haram beheads Rev. Andimi Branch Chairman of (CAN)

Rev. Andimi pleads for help on video released by the Boko Haram

Nigerian Christians are reeling from shock after learning Rev Lawan Andimi was executed on Jan. 20 by the Boko Haram. He was an ordained minister of EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, served as EYN district secretary for the Michika area and was a branch chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for the Michika area. The state CAN chairman, Bishop Dami Mamza, disclosed on Tuesday that Boko Haram insurgents had demanded for £200million ransom and rejected the N50million offer before executing Andimi. He said the captors threatened to kill him on Saturday but did not carry out the execution until Monday.

Part of a message Voice of the Persecuted received this morning from one of our sources on the ground said, “Having sleepless nights with the executions of Boko Haram and especially the killing of the pastor in December and Rev. Andimi. Although, there are many cases of such nature. It is very disturbing.”

Ahmed Salkida, a journalist known to have access to Boko Haram and release information for them, shared the horrific news on Twitter.

Later, he also shared, “Reverend Lawan Andimi was beheaded yesterday afternoon, the video of the appalling executions with that of a soldier was obtained at 2:42pm. I made sure that the family, the authorities and the church were duly informed before the news was put out to the public this morning.”

Reports claim the Boko Haram terrorists rejected a N50m ransom offer that fell short of their steep demand and went ahead to behead Rev. Lawan Andimi on Monday. The insurgents had demanded for N946m but was only offered N50m, infuriating the terrorists.

Morning Star News reported that Rev. Lawan Andimi had a treasured life – loving family, an affectionate congregation and respect from his colleagues.

The kidnapped district chairman of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) in Michika County, in northeast Nigeria’s Adamawa state, had stated in a video that he trusted in God should he lose his life to Islamic terrorists of Boko Haram.

CAN President Samson Ayokunle confirmed in a comment to the Nigerian newspaper the Daily Post that Pastor Andimi had been executed.

Pastor Andimi had said in a Boko Haram video released by Salkida on Jan. 5 that he hoped to be reunited with his wife, children and colleagues.

“If the opportunity has not been granted, maybe it is the will of God,” he said. “I want all people close and far, colleagues, to be patient. Don’t cry, don’t worry, but thank God for everything.”

Pastor Andimi, who also served as chairman of CAN’s local chapter, was kidnapped on Jan. 2 when Boko Haram attacked two Christian communities in the area.

In the video released on Jan. 5, the pastor called on church leaders to speak out for him and urge Adamawa Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri to intervene to secure his release.

“I have never been discouraged, because all conditions that one finds himself is in the hand of God,” Pastor Andimi said in the video.

Strongly Worded Statement

CAN President Ayokunle said in a press statement that the execution of Pastor Andimi was “gruesome, unfortunate and a shame on the federal government,” according to Nigerian newspaper The Nation.

“What has become of intelligence-gathering of our security agencies?” Ayokunle said in the statement. “Is this government and the security agencies still claiming that the war against these criminals in religious garments has been won despite all the killings? Is the government sincere in fighting these terrorists or merely paying lip service to the war against the insurgency? Is there any hope that our security is guaranteed under this government?”

CAN’s director of legal and public affairs, Kwamkur Vondip, reportedly said in a statement that the church did “everything within her reach to secure the safe release of this pastor gentleman but it was not possible because they didn’t have the military power to do so,” according to The Nation.

“Just last Sunday, a clergyman, Rev. Denis Bagauri, was murdered by unknown gunmen in his residence at Mayo Belwa of Adamawa state,” Vondip reportedly said. “The church views the unabated kidnappings, extortions and killings of Christians and innocent Nigerians as shameful to the government that each time boasts that it has conquered insurgency.”

In the strongly worded statement, Vondip said it was reprehensible and saddening that each time the government claims the defeat of Boko Haram, more killings are committed.

“In the light of the current developments and the circumstantial facts surrounding the prevailing upsurge of attacks against the church, it will be difficult for us to believe that the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari is not colluding with the insurgents to exterminate Christians in Nigeria, bearing in mind the very questionable leadership of the security sector that has been skewed towards a religion and region!

“Is that lopsidedness not a cover-up for the operation of the insurgency? If not, why couldn’t the well-equipped security agents of Nigeria get this man killed rescued?”

Vondip urged the government to ensure the release of Leah Sharibu, kidnapped from a high school in Dapchi, Yobe state in February 2018, and hundreds of other victims of Boko Haram and splinter group the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP).

“A government that cannot protect the governed is a failed government,” Vondip said. “Can the government tell us what they did since Rev. Andimì cried out to them for help?…If the security agencies claim the terrorists are operating outside the country, why is it possible for these hoodlums to invade the country, kill, maim, burn and kidnap without any convincing checks on the part of the security agencies?

“Since the government and its apologists are claiming the killings have no religious undertones, why are the terrorists and herdsmen targeting the predominantly Christian communities and Christian leaders?

“If the security agencies are not living up to the expectations of the government, why hasn’t it overhauled them with a view of injecting new visionary ones into the security system?”

He said that as long as the government refuses to act, the crimes will continue.

“We are almost losing hope in government’s ability to protect Nigerians, especially Christians who have become endangered species under its watch,” he said.

Ayokunle called on the international community to come to the aid of Nigeria, “especially, the Nigerian church, so that we might not be eliminated one by one.”

President Buhari, in a statement to the Daily Post, said security forces were working continuously to secure the release of hostages and appealed for Nigerians not to see terrorist attacks and plans as a religious fight or persecution of Christians.

“Not seeing terrorists as they should be is exactly what they wish to divide Nigerians,” Buhari said in the statement. “Nigerians must continue to be united in ensuring that they do not subscribe to the terrorists’ message of division. Unfortunately, some leaders and politicians seek to make political capital from our religious differences.

“As we fight Boko Haram on the ground, so too must we tackle their beliefs: stability and unity in face of their hatred is itself a rejection of their worldview. This government shall never tolerate religious intolerance. We clearly and unambiguously restate our support for the freedom to practice whichever belief you wish. The politicization of religion – as forbidden by the constitution – has no place in Nigeria.”

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

Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured” (Hebrews 13:3).

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. You can also join the Persecution Watch prayer conference call tonight and pray united for them. Call details below

From any location on your phone

Time:

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Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

 

Nigerian Diocese Spokesman Confirms Bridal Party Murdered by Islamic Militants

One day after 11 Christians in Nigeria were killed by militants on Christmas (see below), all members of a bridal party, including the bride, were killed as they headed to the wedding, according to CBN.

The communications director of a Catholic Diocese in Nigeria has confirmed that Martha Bulus, a bride-to-be, and all of the members of her bridal party were murdered by suspected Boko Haram insurgents at Gwoza on Dec. 26.

Father Francis Arinse told the Catholic News Service the group was on the way to the Bulus wedding which was scheduled for Dec. 31, when they were captured and killed by Islamic militants.

“They were beheaded by suspected Boko Haram insurgents at Gwoza on their way to her country home,” Arinse told CNS. He added that Bulus used to be his parishioner at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Maiduguri, after he was first ordained.

11 Nigerian Christians on Christmas Day in Gruesome Video

Terrorists linked to the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) released a video showing the execution of 11 Christian prisoners in Nigeria.

The Associated Press reports that the video was released on Dec. 26 and the killings possibly occurred on Christmas Day.

The captives identities were not mentioned, but an earlier video revealed they had been taken from the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe, The Independent reports.

A claim was made on the video the it was a message for all Christians.

 

 

Pray for Leah Sharibu #FreeLeah

This teenage girl still suffers as a captive of the Islamic Boko Haram group in Nigeria. They call her an infidel, an unbeliever, beneath them and deserving of punishment. They say she will be their ‘slave for life’.

Why, what has she done? In the face of evil, this young girl refuses to recant her faith in Christ and convert to Islam…come what may.

Our ‘sister’ is in chains for Christ. Pray as if you were held captive with her, as you would want others to pray for you. #FreeLeah #Pray4Leah

Tonight on Persecution Watch: Nations of Brutal Dictatorships and Severe Religious Oppression

Prayer ministry of Voice of the Persecuted

(Voice of the Persecuted) Looking back, our first prayer letter of 2019 we want to praise and thank the Lord for giving Asia BiBi her release from prison and safe conduct into a country where she can be a Christian without fear.

Again, we want to lift-up two persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice that this year will be the year where they will be set free.

As we start a new year, I feel it would be prudent to pray for some of the countries with the most:

  • Brutal dictatorships
  • High level of Islamic oppression

North Korea – Population: 25.6 million; Christians: about 300,000

Eritrea                                  5.2 million;               about  2.5 million

China                                    1.4 billion                         97.2 million

  • Pray for the protection of the secret believers.
  • Pray for the secret believer who are sharing the good News.
  • Pray that for the Christians that suffer, being tortured and being kept under inhuman prison conditions.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will exercise His power and bring about a change in government.
  • Pray specifically for Pastor Wang YI.

Yemen         Population: 28.9 million      Christians: a few thousand

Iran                                 82.1 million                         about 800,000

Afghanistan                   36.3 million                        a few thousand

Pakistan                        200.8 million                             3.98 million

Nigeria                          195.9 million                            91.12 million

 

  • Pray Believers from Muslim backgrounds, particularly for those who have been shunned by their families and community upon conversion.
  • Pray to the Lord that the constitution that promises religious freedom will be fully implemented and that the laws banning Christian practices will be abolished.
  • Pray that Christians Internet messages and websites will reach deep in the Muslim communities and encourage Christians.
  • Pray to the Lord that the believers will have courage, wisdom and boldness to reach out to Muslim neighbors.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will appear to many Muslims in their dreams and connect them with believers.
  • Pray to the Lord that believers will love and forgive their persecutors
  • Pray that the Lord will build His church by adding daily to the number of believers.

You are invited to join us on Thursday, January 3 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church.

Many blessings,

Andy, Prayer Call Moderator

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 

From any location on your phone

Time: 

9:00 PM EST

8:00 PM CST

7:00 PM MST

6:00 PM PST

Call in number: 712 775-7035      

Access Code: 281207#

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

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

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

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

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ.

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