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Let Us Pray: Reports of Christians Persecuted

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Saturday, September 3, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

According to Open Doors, dozens of North Koreans were arrested and shot at a worship service, then their families were rounded up and jailed.

  • Pray comfort for grieving families.
  • Pray for endurance for believers who were captured.
  • Pray for salvation for unbelievers who were captured and for those who arrested them.
  • Pray the Lord would bring down or replace this wicked regime according to His will.
  • Pray for protection for believers in North Korea.

Two people have a safe house ministry in China for North Koreans who cross the border.  They are struggling with health issues and arrest.

When a Laotian woman came to faith, she burned the idols in her home.  Villagers destroyed her home, drove her away, and beat other Christians.

  • Pray for displaced believers; pray for hope and faith.

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him; so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

In Mozambique, two pastors were displaced and now have a ministry to other refugees fleeing violence. 

  • Pray for renewed health for the pastors running the safe house ministry in China.
  • Pray for provision, protection, discernment, endurance, wisdom and compassion for those ministers.
  • Pray for many salvations from their ministry; for growth and comfort for Christians who fled.

In India, Pastor Shankar was murdered, and 26 other pastors were attacked.

  • Pray for grieving families, for Godly courage and wisdom among the leadership and congregations.

Someone put acid in Leebee’s (an East Asian Christian) drink, and the Lord healed and sustained her. Though persecuted, she gained the trust of those who used to persecute her.

  • Pray for many supernatural healings to encourage and sustain the Christians; pray for many salvations because of people seeing God’s goodness and power to those who love Him.

In Vietnam, believers returned a blessing for evil when they built toilet facilities at the homes of their former persecutors. 

  • Pray that the seed of this sacrifice would bring many salvations; pray unbelievers would see that Christians build up and help society.

Pastor Kajo was attacked by Muslims during a church service; but he was the one sent to prison for “disturbing the peace”.

  • Pray for justice for him and others.

Proverbs 18:5 “It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the innocent of justice.”

Anyone selling Bible in Khazakstan can be fined the equivalent of three weeks wages.  Churches must also register and be monitored.

  • Pray for God’s Word to go swiftly throughout Khazakstan and the earth.

Psalm 147:15 “He sends His command to the earth; His Word runs swiftly.”

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

Leah Sharibu prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.

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

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.

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

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

The Harvest

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

Valerie Creekmore, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 

Access Code: 281207#

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

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

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

What is Persecution Watch?

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

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

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

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch

Persecution Watch: Pray for Pakistan

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday August 30, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Dear Prayer Warriors, I was reminded yesterday of how much God loved us. 

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”Romans 5:8

We are also lead through His love to pray in the Spirit for our precious brothers and sisters in Christ and for those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. 

Tonight, we will pray for Pakistan.

Court denies Christian parents’ custody of their 12 yr. old, kidnapped daughter who was lured away by the wife of a 40 yr. old Muslim man, forcefully converted, then forced into marriage with him.Let us also pray for her and the many other girls suffering the same in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s floods have killed more than 1,000. It’s been called a climate catastrophe

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

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

Leah Sharibu prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.

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

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

The Harvest

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

The Lord’s servant,

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

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

Access Code: 281207#

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

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

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

What is Persecution Watch?

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

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

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

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

Christian Parents in Pakistan Denied Custody of Kidnapped Girl

Pakistan (Morning Star News) – Refusing to review evidence from a Christian couple trying to recover their 12-year-old daughter after she was allegedly kidnapped and forced to convert and marry, a judge in Pakistan last week denied them custody, sources said.

Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan of the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi Bench on Thursday (Aug. 18) denied the petition by Parvez Masih and his wife, Yasmeen, seeking custody of their daughter Zarvia, said rights activist Sherkan Malik.

“The judge dismissed our petition in under two minutes – he even refused to look at any of the evidence, which clearly showed that the minor child was threatened to give a statement in favor of the accused, Imran Shahzad and his wife Adiba,” Malik told Morning Star News.

The judge, declaring “The girl is 12, she is married, and she did it out of her free will,” made the ruling in spite of recorded evidence that Shahzad had threatened to kill Zarvia’s two brothers if she told the truth, Malik said. The ruling leaves Zarvia in the custody of Shahzad and his wife.

Malik, a Muslim, said that Masih and his wife, who live in Rawalpindi, approached him for legal assistance over fears that their daughter had been killed after being kidnapped.

“Since May 14, when a judicial magistrate in Rawalpindi handed Zarvia’s custody to Imran on the basis of the child’s verbal statement that she was 14 years old and had married the accused of her own free will, her parents have had no contact with her, leaving them to question if she is even alive,” Malik said. “The judge told us that since the girl had already recorded her statement, this was now just a frivolous case, and there was nothing more the court could do in this regard.”

Malik said that in July, Zarvia managed to make a phone call to her brother, telling him that Shahzad, 40, had threatened to kill him and her other brother if she incriminated Shahzad in the abduction case.

“The family has an audio recording of Zarvia’s phone call to her eldest brother,” Malik told Morning Star News.

Based on this information, Masih filed a petition for the recovery of his daughter in the Rawalpindi additional sessions court on July 13, but the judge dismissed the case on July 14.

Basis of Kidnapping Case

Masih said his family had given refuge to Shahzad, his wife Adiba and their three children in their house because Shahzad was jobless and did not have a home.

He said that Shahzad physically abused his own wife and children, and so Masih asked the family to leave their house after some weeks.

On April 30, a week after Shahzad and his family vacated their house, Adiba came to their home and lured Zarvia into going with her to the market without informing her family, Masih said.

When their daughter did not return home at dusk, Masih and his wife started searching for her and contacted relatives of the Muslim couple. Masih said he received a WhatsApp voice message from Shahzad that night telling him that Zarvia was in his custody, and that they should not contact his relatives again.

The family then registered a kidnapping case against the couple with the Sadiqabad Police Station in Rawalpindi on May 1. The police recovered Zarvia from a brick kiln in Faisalabad 13 days later and also arrested three persons, including the Muslim couple and an accomplice identified only as Liaquat, Malik said.

“Despite being a minor, Zarvia was not sent to a children’s shelter home for the night but was instead kept in the women’s police station in Rawalpindi in the same cell as Adiba,” Malik said.

Zarvia recorded her statement before a judicial magistrate on May 14, claiming that she was 14 years old and did not want to undergo a medical examination, he said.

“She also said that she had converted to Islam and contracted marriage with Imran Shahzad with her free will,” Malik said, adding that on the basis of her statement, the judge dismissed the kidnapping case and ordered the release of all three suspects. The judge roundly rejected the girl’s birth certificate and other documents proving she was under the age to legally marry.

“The sessions court completely ignored her birth certificate, church registration documents and school certifications which confirmed her age as 12,” he said, adding that her coerced statement that she was 14 was immaterial because the legal age to marry under the Punjab Child Marriage Restraint Act is 16.

“Police and judiciary tend to support those who commit crimes such as forced conversions, child marriages and sexual violence because they believe they will receive a heavenly reward for helping convert someone to Islam, regardless of how intentional or coercive the conversion is,” Malik said.

Nayab Gill Case Update

In Gujranwala, the parents of a kidnapped 14-year-old girl forced to convert to Islam and marry informed a church leader that her Muslim “husband,” Saddam Hayat, had sold her to a relative, likely to be trafficked. She has since escaped.

Bishop Azad Marshall, president of the Anglican Church of Pakistan, told Morning Star News that after the parents of Nayab Gill told him on July 23 that she had been sold, he filed a petition in the Lahore High Court on July 25 inquiring about the well-being of the girl.

Gujranwala police failed to produce her in court on two hearings on July 27 and Aug. 3, saying they were unable to trace her whereabouts, Marshall said.

Police presented her in the court of Justice Amjad Rafique on Aug. 15, telling a judge that they had found her in a women’s shelter in Gujranwala, he said. Nayab told the court she had escaped from her abductors and reached the shelter with the help of police.

“The judge was kind enough to give time to the parents to talk with their child, but despite their persuasion, she refused to go with them, saying Saddam and his brothers would kill her father if she went with him,” Marshall said.

When the judge again asked her if she wanted to go with her parents, she refused and asked to be sent to the shelter home instead, he said. She remains at the shelter.

“Her refusal to return home clearly showed the fear that has been instilled in her mind during her captivity,” Marshall told Morning Star News. “We are now trying through some sources to counsel the child and bring her out of the fear and trauma that she has suffered in the past one year.”

Marshall had filed a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court in January 2021 seeking court intervention in the issue of rape of minority children who are forced to marry and convert to Islam. His petition and a subsequent appeal, however, were turned down with directions to bring a specific case.

In view of the court’s decision, Marshall provided legal aid to the parents of Nayab, who had challenged a Lahore High Court ruling allowing their daughter to remain in the custody of her Muslim “husband.” Filed in the Supreme Court in July 2021, his appeal has yet to be taken up by judges.

“We had pinned our hopes on the Supreme Court, that it would intervene in the matter and give clear directions to the government and relevant quarters, but there has been no progress in the appeal even after a year,” Marshall said. “In view of these challenges and the state’s apparent lack of interest to address them, one can only pray for God’s protection for our children.”

He said he was hopeful that Nayab would return to her family soon.

Church leaders and rights activists cite forced conversion as the biggest challenge for vulnerable minority communities of Pakistan.

“Zarvia’s case is yet another example of how minor children are being subjected to sexual violence in the guise of Islamic marriage,” Marshall said.

At least 1,000 women from religious minorities, including Christians and Hindus, are forcibly converted and married annually in Pakistan, according to various rights groups. Although Pakistan officials have dismissed such reports as “rubbish and baseless,” activists assert actual numbers could be much higher as many cases go unreported.

Pakistan ranked eighth on Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The country had the second-highest number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Nigeria, with 620 slain during the reporting period from Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021. Pakistan had the fourth-highest number of churches attacked or closed, with 183, and overall.

Photo: Parvez Masih says his daughter, 12-year-old Zarvia, remains in the custody of her captors. (Morning Star News courtesy of family)

Children among Christians Slain in Attacks in Two States in Nigeria

Fulani herdsmen working with Islamic extremist terrorist groups, sources say.

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Suspected Fulani herdsmen on Sunday (July 31) killed seven Christians, including four children, in an attack in Plateau state, Nigeria, following months of violence in neighboring Taraba state, sources said.

Following a July 21 attack in Fusa village, Plateau state that left five Christians dead, assailants on Sunday (July 31) invaded Danda Chigwi village in the state’s Jos South County shortly after 7 p.m., said area resident Dagah Dung.

A Christian youth leader in the village, Rwang Tengwong, said in a press statement that two other people were injured in the attack southwest of Jos, including a 4-month-old baby whose hand was cut off. Tengwong identified the slain as Ruth Gyang Bot, 16; Chundung Pam Gyang, 9; Mercy James Gyang, 12; Benjamin Pam Gyang, 5; Pam Gyang Dawho, 59; Nvou Pam Gyang, 43; and Jah Dung Pam, 50.

Tengwong, spokesman of the Berom Youth Movement (BYM), said the four females and three males slain were members of two families and were attacked in their homes.

Wounded in the attack, he said, was Lyop John Dung, 40, and, David Pam Gyang, “a 4-month- old baby whose hand was amputated by the attackers.” They were being treated at Vom Christian Hospital, operated by the Church of Christ In Nations (COCIN).

Dachung Bagos, who represents Jos South/Jos East Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, described the attack as beastly in a press statement on Monday (Aug. 1).

“This incident has raised concerns over the readiness of security agencies to tackle once and for all the guerrilla style of killing which has been incessant in my constituency and Plateau state,” Bagos said. “Intelligence reports have it that the attackers had sent signals before now, and no action was taken on the part of the security agencies to curtail it; this is sad. I am angry and enraged by the daily killing within and around my constituency.”

On July 21 in Fobur town’s Fusa village, Jos East County, Fulani herdsmen killed five Christians, local residents said. Plateau State Command spokesman Alfred Alabo issued a statement confirming the attack.

“The Commissioner of Police condoles with the people of Fobur town, Fusa village, and the families of the five persons who were killed on the July 21,” Alabo said. “He assures the families of the deceased and the entire local government that efforts are on top gear to arrest the perpetrators of the dastardly act for them to face justice.”

Taraba State Chaos

In northeast Nigeria’s Taraba state, Rimamnde Shawulu Kwewum, a member of the National Assembly who represents Takum/Donga/Ussa/Yangtu SDA Federal Constituency, said in a press statement that terrorists killed more than 30 people in predominantly Christian communities across two counties from July 5 to July 12.

“Terrorists have continued the unabated destruction of settlements in Takum and Ussa Local Government Area of Taraba state,” he said. “The avoidable killings and destruction began on April 17, 2022.”

Attacked since April in the Takum Local Government Area were Basank, Muji 1, Muji 2, Fawen, Tati, Flashin, Rikwen Tumu, Rikwen cwun, Tswen 1, Tswen 2, Kando, Kasiten, Kpashi, Shimta, Kwaben, Mbiya, Kakum, Tukok, Gaba and Mbafobani, among others, he said.

In Ussa Local Government Area, terrorists attacked the villages of Asik, Konkaen, Fangtae, Kujwaen, Kicha, Kusansang, Rikwentwen, Rikwen tsinya, Rikwen Makun, Tutuwa, Kampo and Ripaenchin, he said, while in Yangtu Special Development Area, Kwari, Boi, Kpaw, Nyifiye, Ruwa, Nyicwu and Ribasi suffered assaults.

“The terrorists waylaid innocent and defenseless Christians,” Kwewum said. “These killings and destruction have become daily occurrences – and in several of the communities the terrorist attack, crops in the field are destroyed; houses including Christian worship centers are sometimes set ablaze.”

Islamic extremist terrorists invade the areas in large numbers, simultaneously attacking several villages and settlements, he said.

“All these attacks have kept occurring without any strong, coordinated and consistent intervention from the security agencies,” Kwewum said.

On July 22 in Jenuwa Nyifiye village, at least nine Christians were killed in terrorist attacks, according to Habila Timothy Anderifun, representative in the Taraba State House of Assembly from the southern part of the state.

“On July 18, Talatu Yaro was butchered at Kujwean by the suspected armed Fulani bandits, and her remains packaged in polytene bags like bush meat,” Anderifun said in a statement. “On the same day, Rimamsikwe Audu was shredded in pieces at Kujwean village, while Andenyangtso Adamu was butchered along the Takum-Lisam road by the same armed Fulani bandits.”

Anderifun said 60 Christians were killed and 120, 000 others displaced in two months of attacks by armed herdsmen and terrorists in Ussa and Takum counties and the Yangtu development area of Taraba state.

“The killings and mutilation of the bodies of the victims in Ussa constitute crimes against humanity, and we urged the Nigerian government to take urgent steps to end these senseless killings,” Anderifun said. “It is imperative to state that communities such as Kujwean, Asik, Ripenchin, Kutuko, Kusansan and in fact, the entire Kwesati ward, Lissam II, Yangtu and Bika, among other communities, have been deserted.”

Terrorist Takeover

Since January, 300 Christians have been killed by herdsmen and other terrorists and 120,000 people have been displaced as 40 predominantly Christian communities were destroyed, said Anderifun and two other legislators of the Taraba State House Assembly, Garba Ajiya and Usman Danjuma Shiddi.

“The attacks on Christians started in January this year have now become a total invasion and occupation of no fewer than 40 communities in my constituency by armed Fulani bandits,” Garba Ajiya said.

In the last week of July, terrorists attacked Kpashimbe, Sabon-Gida Kpashimbe, Manya, Tati, Gandum I and II, Muji 1 and II, among several other communities along the Manya -Takum road, Ajiya said.

“These villages have been deserted, while the Fulani herders now graze their cows freely on displaced people’s farms,” he said. “Thousands of Internally Displaced Persons have been forced to move to Markam and Fadama Primary schools and are using the schools’ classrooms as shelter. The Catholic church and other churches in that area have taken in some of the displaced Christians.”

Shiddi added that Christians in the Ussa Local Government Area and the Yangtu Development Area have come under heavy attacks by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in the past three months.

“Those attacks and massacres are very clear footprints of Boko Haram, for this was how it started in Borno and Yobe states,” Shiddi said. “Terrorist camps are now spreading over those communities from where they launch attacks and annex further communities. Terrorists are now advancing towards Takum Local Government Area. They have taken over Tati Village and Manyan, which is just about a 20-minute drive from Takum town.”

The communities attacked, he said, were Basank, Muji 1, Muji 2, Fawen, Tati, Flashing, Rikwen Tumi, Rikwen Cwun, Tswen 1, Tswen 2, Kandi, Kpambo Puri, Kasiten, Kpashi, Shimta, Kwaben, Mbiya, Kakum, Angwan Government Lodge, Tukok, Gaba, Mbafobani, Asik, Konkaen, Fangtae, Kujwaen, Kicha, Kusansang, Rikwentwen, Rikwenntsinya, Rikwen Makun, Tutuwa, Kampo, Ripaenchin, Jenuwa Koji, Kwari, Boi, Kpaw, Kwambai, Nyifiye, Ruwa, Nyicwu,Ribasi, and Bika.

“l view these security threats seriously as a potential danger to our existence, and if nothing effective is done now, the entire Taraba state starting from our area, would be taken over by Boko Haram terrorists, and from our area they would advance attacks on other areas and the neighboring states,” Shiddi said.

Dantani Attahgani Useni, president of the Southern Taraba Youth Movement (STYM), said in a press statement that terrorists of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in collaboration with Fulani herdsmen recently attacked Takum and Ussa counties.

“Southern Taraba today has become a hostile environment and a den of killers, as our farmlands are being destroyed, villages are being sacked and razed on a daily basis, our children are being kidnapped and killed, Christians have become hostages in their homes, our land is under siege by transgressors who are armed with heavy artilleries,” Useni said. “It is on record that on several occasions, the security agencies have been furnished with detailed operational activities of these terrorists and herdsmen, but nothing has been done to bring the perpetrators of these acts to book.”

Once peaceful southern Taraba is fast sliding into chaos, he said.

“The peace-loving Christians have become the target of those who seem to be above the law,” Useni said. “The unfolding situation has gone too far, and it has shown the lapses and collapse in our security architecture as a nation and a call for urgent action.”

The Rev. Isaiah Magaji Jirapye, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Taraba State Chapter, said that prior to these attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, Islamic clerics outside of Taraba state had threatened religious war and the establishment of a sharia (Islamic law) government in the state.

“The attacks on Christian communities in Ussa and Takum local government areas of the state and Yangtu Development Area by the Fulani militias have had devastating effects on Christians in these areas and resulted in the death of dozens of Christians, the displacement of thousands of other Christians and destruction of whole Christian villages,” Jirapye said. “These attacks on Christian communities have now turned the southern part of Taraba state into a land of dry bones. Urgent steps must therefore be taken by the Nigerian government to put an end to ceaseless killings in Taraba state.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christian Girl in Pakistan Testifies of Kidnapping, Rape

Pray for Pakistan

“One cannot even imagine the pain and horror these children of God have suffered…”

Pakistan (Morning Star News) – A 15-year-old Christian girl told a court in Pakistan on Monday (June 6) that she was kidnapped and raped by the Muslim accused of abducting her and forcibly converting and marrying her. While most girls facing captors’ threats to harm them or their families are pressured into making false statements that they voluntarily married and converted to Islam, Saba Nadeem Masih of Faisalabad showed great bravery in truthfully sharing her ordeal before a judge, a human rights advocate said.

“Saba was in severe mental and physical trauma when the relatives of the accused produced her before police on May 31,” Faisalabad-based rights activist Lala Robin Daniel told Morning Star News.

“The recovery was made possible due to the pressure built by church leaders and rights activists by holding a daily protest from 7 p.m. till midnight.”

Photo: Saba Masih. (Twitter)

Saba, whose family is Roman Catholic, told Faisalabad Magistrate Bushra Anwar how 45-year-old Muhammad Yasir Hussain forced her into a rickshaw on May 20 in the Madina Town area of Faisalabad as she was going to work with her older sister, according to her recorded testimony.

“We were heading to work when the accused forcibly put me in a rickshaw after pushing away my sister,” Saba testified. “He then put something on my mouth due to which I fell unconscious.”

When she regained consciousness two days later, she was told that she was in Gujrat city, she said.

“He raped me for two days,” Saba said. “I kept crying and pleaded with him to let me talk to my parents, but he did not listen. After two days, the accused left me alone in the place where he was keeping me hostage.”

After protests, police initially slow to act began taking into custody for questioning at least 20 of Hussain’s relatives, Daniel said.

“This pressure resulted in Saba’s recovery, even though the primary accused is still at large,” he said.

The rights activist said Hussain was due to appear in court on Saturday (June 4) for confirmation of pre-arrest bail but did not show up. His bail was consequently cancelled, and police are now making raids for his arrest, Daniel said.

“Today’s development is very important because it exposes how these predators sexually exploit underage minority girls and then prepare forged documents of Islamic marriage and religious conversion to seek immunity for their crimes,” he said. “Saba’s statement proves that the Islamic Nikah [marriage] and conversion certificates submitted by the accused to the police are fake. He should now be charged with statutory rape and related offenses and made an example for all those who target minority girls for their evil designs.”

Hussain has been married three times but has no children from his wives, according to Saba’s father, Nadeem Masih. He previously told Morning Star News that Hussain’s family had defamed them in the area by claiming Saba had an affair with their son and had coaxed him into eloping.

In July 2021, 14-year-old Chashman Masih was kidnapped from her school in Faisalabad. The next day, her family received images by phone of an Islamic conversion letter, Islamic wedding certificate (Nikahnama) and an affidavit apparently signed by Chashman that she had willfully converted to Islam and married a Muslim man.

‘Scarred for Life’

Church leaders cite forced conversion as the biggest challenge for vulnerable minority communities of Pakistan, while rights groups blame inequality and marginalization for exploitation of minority groups.

“It’s very sad and tragic that a large number of teenage girls from both the minority Christian and Hindu communities continue to suffer sexual exploitation at the hands of these predators, but very few are able to pull such courage and share their trauma in public,” said Bishop Azad Marshall, president of the Anglican Church of Pakistan.

Marshall filed a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court in January 2021 seeking court intervention in the issue of rape of minority children who are forced to marry and convert to Islam. His petition and a subsequent appeal, however, were turned down with directions to bring a specific case.

In view of the court’s decision, Marshall provided legal aid to a poor Catholic couple who sought to challenge a Lahore High Court verdict allowing their 14-year-old daughter, Nayyab Gill, to remain in the custody of her Muslim “husband.” Filed in the Supreme Court in July 2021, his appeal has yet to be taken up by judges.

“Rape scars the victims for life, and in case of girls as young as 10, one cannot even imagine the pain and horror these children of God have suffered in the cover of religion,” Marshall told Morning Star News. “Enough is enough.”

He called on court and government officials to take notice of Saba’s testimony and immediately pass a bill already drafted against forced conversions.

“Additionally, the superior judiciary must direct its subordinate courts to act in accordance with the laws, especially in light of the recent judgment passed by Justice Babar Sattar of the Islamabad High Court on child marriages,” he said.

At least 1,000 women from religious minorities, including Christians and Hindus, are forcibly converted and married annually in Pakistan, according to various rights groups. Although Pakistan officials have dismissed such reports as “rubbish and baseless,” activists assert actual numbers could be much higher as many cases go unreported.

According to the Center for Social Justice, 60 cases of questionable conversions were reported last year, with victims including 30 Christians and 30 Hindus. The highest number of 32 cases was reported in Sindh Province, 26 in Punjab Province and one each in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces.

The center reported that 70 percent of the victims were less than 18 years old, with 63 percent 14 years old or younger, while 8 percent were above 18 years old.

Pakistan ranked eighth on Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The country had the second-highest number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Nigeria, with 620 slain during the reporting period from Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021. Pakistan had the fourth-highest number of churches attacked or closed, with 183, and overall.

Praying for the Persecuted Families

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Saturday May 28, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Psalm 113:1-3 

“Hallel le Yah” (praise the Lord)

Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the Name of the Lord. Let the Name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets the Name of the Lord is to be praised.”

  • Pray the Lord’s Name be praised and exalted among the persecuted church in spite of any opposition.

Mark 10:14b,15

“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

  • Pray the church would come as little children, trusting in a good Father. 
  • Pray for Christian families in countries where they are persecuted.
  • Pray children would be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; that they would not depart from their Christian upbringing.
  • Pray children’s hearts will not be seared by tribulation caused by persecution.
  • Pray for salvation of entire families.
  • Pray for protection of Christian women and girls, that they will not be kidnapped; that those who have been kidnapped may be able to escape. Those who are brought to court are not intimidated into lying about their situation. If there are children from any forced marriages, mothers may be able to keep custody of these children and bring them up as Christians. 
  • Pray God give Christians special gifts that are needed in their society so they can support themselves and their families.
  • Pray for protection for:
  1. Underground churches in countries where they are illegal:
  2. African churches in countries where they are being attacked, such as Nigeria and Sudan.
  3. Christian converts from other religions.
  • Pray for supernatural health, especially for those who are not able to receive medical care. 

Psalm 86:17 “Give me a sign of Your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for You, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me.”

  • Pray for signs following, including healings, that their enemies may be put to shame.
  • Pray Holy Spirit would comfort many
  • Pray for sound teaching, not be deceived by false doctrines; pray for repentance and fear of the LORD. 
  • Pray for salvation for leaders of every country; help Christians to pray for them.

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

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

Leah Sharibu prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.

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

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

The Harvest

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

Valerie Creekmore, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Photo: Children forced into refugee camp through persecution —Voice of the Persecuted

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

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

Access Code: 281207#

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

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

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

What is Persecution Watch?

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

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

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

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

Persecution Watch: Violence continues in Nigeria

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

Praise to God for a Living Hope

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

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

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

Christian Student in Sokoto, Nigeria Stoned to Death

Kidnapped Priest in Kaduna, Nigeria Killed by Captors

At Least Eight Slain in Attack on Christian Area of Nigeria

Christians Killed as ISWAP Expands to Taraba State, Nigeria

Herdsmen and Others Kill 18 Christians in Northern Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.

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

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

The Harvest

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

The Lord’s servant,

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

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

Access Code: 281207#

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

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

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

What is Persecution Watch?

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

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

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

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

Rioters Attack Christian Sites over Arrests in Sokoto, Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sokoto resident Precious Arigu requested prayer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Herdsmen Kill 36 Christians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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