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Christian Leaders Urge Prayer for Nigeria’s Forgotten Victims

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Six Nigerians Convicted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jihadists take hundreds hostage during a raid in north-east Nigeria

The Guardian reports that Jihadists have taken hundreds hostage during a raid in north-east Nigeria. Residents of Kukawa in Borno state had just returned home after almost two years displaced in refugee camps. Also, read a Message To The World from the Archbishop of Kaduna and the Bishop of Kano:   “A DARK CLOUD OF VIOLENCE HANGS OVER OUR LAND – Nigeria is in the firm grip of the grim reaper.” READ Full Report

Islamic Extremist Militants in Nigeria Execute Five Men as Warning to Christians, Video Shows

Islamic State in West Africa Province militants before execution of aid workers in Borno, Nigeria. (Screenshot)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Islamic extremists have executed five Nigerian men in Borno state, with one executioner saying it was a warning to “all those being used by infidels to convert Muslims to Christianity,” according to a video posted on Wednesday (July 22).

Three of the men shot to death from behind on the video were identified as Christians by a resident of Borno state, where the executions apparently took place.

In the 35-second video posted on YouTube by Eons Intelligence before it was removed, the three Christians kneel blindfolded by red cloth alongside two others believed to be Muslims while five men armed with AK-47 rifles stand behind them.

“This is a message to all those being used by infidels to convert Muslims to Christianity,” one of the executioners says in the Hausa language, translated by Morning Star News. “We want you out there to understand that those of you being used to convert Muslims to Christianity are only being used for selfish purposes.

“And that is the reason whenever we capture you, they don’t care to rescue you or work towards securing your release from us; and this is because they don’t need you or value your lives. We therefore, call on you to return to Allah by becoming Muslims. We shall continue to block all routes [highways] you travel.

“If you don’t heed our warning, the fate of these five individuals will be your fate.”

The speaker than commands, “Bisimilah [Go on],” and the five men are shot dead.

The Borno resident (name withheld for security reasons) identified three of those killed as Christians. He said Ishaku Yakubu, an aid worker from Chibok with Action Against Hunger, was a member of the Church of the Brethren (EYN); Luka Filibus, an aid worker from Monguno with the International Rescue Committee, was an EYN member; and Joseph Prince, a private security firm worker, was a member of the Redeemed Christian Church in Maiduguri.

In a previous video recorded on June 21, Prince and Filibus identified their captors as members of Khalifa, a term used by prior captives for a Boko Haram splinter group, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP).

In the prior video, Prince says: “My name is Joseph Prince, and I’m a staff member of Halogen [a private security firm]. I was traveling from Maiduguri to Monguno on official duty on June 1, 2020, when I was captured by Khalifa soldiers at 11:37 a.m. As of today, June 21, 2020, the date this video is being recorded, I’m still being held captive. I plead with my organization to please secure my release.”

In the prior video, Yakubu says: “My name is Ishaku Yakubu, and I work with Action Against Hunger. I was captured on June 8, 2020, while I was traveling from Monguno to Maiduguri. I plead for my organization, Action Against Hunger, to kindly secure my release.”

Filibus, the third Christian victim, in the prior video says: “My name is Luka Filibus, and I work with the International Rescue Committee in Munguno Local Government Area. I was captured by Khalifa soldiers on June 3, 2020, while I was on my way to Maiduguri. I plead with my organization, International Rescue Committee, to kindly secure my release.”

Action Against Hunger and the International Rescue Committee confirmed the deaths of their workers in press statements condemning the executions.

Buhari Statement

A statement from Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari indicated that the other two men executed worked with Nigeria’s State Emergency Management Agency and a company called Rich International.

Through spokesman Garba Sheu, Buhari sent condolences to the families of those slain and said the government will do all it can to ensure that “every remaining vestige of Boko Haram is wiped out completely from northeastern Nigeria.”

“President Buhari also condoles with the State Emergency Management Agency, Action Against Hunger, Rich International, and International Rescue Committee, whose staff have suffered this gruesome fate,” Sheu said. “He thanks them for their continued dedication and service to the victims of Boko Haram in Northeastern Nigeria.”

In January ISWAP executed Christian university student 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.

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

On Jan. 20, Boko Haram terrorists executed the Rev. Lawan Andami, district chairman of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) in Michika County, Adamawa state, and father of eight children.

Edward Kallon, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, expressed shock and horror at the killings, saying of the victims, “their safety and securing their safe release have been our highest priority since they were captured in June.”

“These checkpoints disrupt the delivery of life-saving assistance and heighten the risks for civilians of being abducted, killed or injured, with aid workers increasingly being singled out,” Kallon said. “I strongly condemn all violence targeting aid workers and the civilians they are assisting. I am also troubled by the number of illegal vehicular checkpoints set up by non-state armed groups along main supply routes.”

The U.N. has repeatedly called for an end to such blatant violations of international humanitarian law, he said.

“I implore all armed parties to step up their responsibilities and stop targeting aid workers and civilians,” Kallon said. “At a time when humanitarian needs have reached unprecedented levels, it is unacceptable that those who are trying to help are being attacked and killed.”

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.

NIGERIA: Boko Haram kills over 80 people during attack in Borno State

(Voice of the Persecuted) On Tuesday, Boko Haram Islamist militants killed 69 people during an attack on Faduma Koloram village in the Gubio area of Borno state. Many sustained gunshot wounds with 12 succumbing to their injuries on Wednesday, bringing the total casualties to 81. Nearly a dozen, including women and the head of the village, were said to be abducted.

Witnesses say the terrorists came in cars and on motorcycles killing residents at will in an attack that lasted 2 hours. Women and children fetching water were surrounded by the attackers and heinously gunned down. Livestock were either killed or carries away. The entire village was razed when homes were set ablaze as the militants left.

The community has witnessed deadly Boko Haram attacks in the past. Residents were armed and had been able to repel some of their attacks. However, this one took them by surprise.

After 11 years, the Islamist terror group remains a constant threat to communities in northeast Nigeria. Tens of thousands have been killed in their brutal attacks with over 2 million people displaced in the country.

Please pray for Nigeria.

17 Christians Communities wiped out by Boko Haram in Nigeria

Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) By our Nigerian Correspondent — Boko Haram has been carrying out vicious attacks against Christians communities mainly in the southern part of Borno State and northern Adamawa State. Christians constitute 85% of the population in these areas. Scores of victims and eyes witnesses spoke with VOP’s Nigerian Correspondence who recounted that the latest attacks as aimed at destroying Christian communities.

According to some of the IDP (internally displace people) camp officials, there are over 4,000 Christians in an unofficial internally displaced camp in Lassa from 17 Christian communities in Borno and Adamawa States. These communities include, Bdagu,  Ngurhengwal,  Yaza,  Kwang, Multafu, Pambam, Emmi,  Kelekasa,  Shawa, Maikdadri, Kummaza,  Nkirvu,  Yaffa,  Huyum, Bagajaw, Izge and Wassada. Residents are predominately Christian who are members of Church of Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), ECWA, Redeemed Church of God, and the Catholic Church.  “We have nowhere to go”, a witness said.

These communities depend on seasonal farming as a major means of income, while others rear animals, sell craft work or petty trading for survival. They’ve suffered perpetual attacks with great losses, including their homes, from the Boko Haram since 2013. Many have been gunned down, slaughtered and abducted since the Islamic militants began terrorizing the region.

Fleeing residents and Christian leaders are extremely concerned with the rise of recent attacks by the armed group. Within a week, the militants raided, Kuda-Kaya, Diambo, Makalama, Yimirali-Autlha, Yimirali-Barka, Yimira Kopa, Gatamarwa,- Maik-dadri  and Multafu villages killing scores of people, took their food and belongings then set their homes ablaze.      

Interview with residents of 2 Christian communities recently attacked:

Maikadiri Village Attack:

Those from Maikadiri are predominantly farmers with over 70% Christians who worship with denominations such as Church of Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), Deeper Life Bible Church (DLBC) and Catholic Assemblies. The village is located in the Uba Local Government Area of Borno State. 

Boko Haram attacked Maikadiri village on March 18, 2019. They went through along Lassa settlements killing 2 people and abducted many others on their way back to hideouts in the Sambisa Forest.

One eye witness who narrowly escaped shared his experience with our correspondent.

“Using a robe, they tied my hands behind my back and killed the two others in front of me. Once they identify you as Christian, they don’t waste time and butcher you with knife”, he added. Their attention was drawn from me when the Lassa security forces started shooting from afar. I quickly crawled on my stomach for some distance then ran into a bush and escaped.

A church leader who spoke with VOP’s correspondent commended the effort of the Lassa security forces who ambushed the insurgents. They exchanged fire with the militants and many of the Boko Haram members were killed. The security force also seized 3 of their cars and 5 motorcycles.

After the military left the community, the Boko Haram returned for a revenge mission on March 26, 2019. They assumed the villagers collaborated with the military to ambush them, so they burned down the entire village. The community members lost everything they owned. It was also dangerous for them to stay within the region without military protection. With no other choice, they moved to the unofficial IDP camp as a result of the dire security challenges.  

Multafu Attacks:

On March 22, 2019, an armed group of Boko Haram rode into Multafu village on motorcycles and bicycles around 7p.m.and started shooting. Two Christians were killed in the presence of their family members.

A villager told Voice of the Persecuted, “They went straight to the Church of Brethren of Nigeria (EYN) and burned it to ashes while chanting “Allahu Akbar.” They also looted food then burned down 7 Christian homes.  

During the attack the insurgents caught a fleeing woman with her 2 daughters. They let her to go but started to leave with her daughters. The woman quickly made up a story and claimed that one of her daughters was married. Not wanting any married women, they left the one thought to be married and sadly abducted the other one.  One victim told VOP that the Boko Haram used the abducted girl’s mobile phone after they left. The caller stated, “We are coming back to take more girls, food and burn the houses.”     

After hours of operations, the militants looted food items and left at their own convenience. Security forces within area refused to respond even when they were called at the beginning of the attack. “We no longer have hope in the security forces, we knew they would never come,” said a community leader.

Unfortunately, on March 24, 2019,the Boko Haram came again as promised. With the cover of night and no security forces around to repel the attack, they traveled through the same towards the village. They interrupted church services taking place, killed 3 men and set the whole village on fire. Witnesses claim they did their operations calmly and stayed in the village for some days.

“We thought the insurgents had left, so we went back to the village to bury our dead. To our surprised, they were still in the village waiting to ambush us on our return,” said a witness.

“I have told security forces several times, but they refused to show up” a clergyman shared. They took up courage with the help of a vigilante group and a few security forces to retrieve the bodies of the murdered members of the community. The militants engaged them and after much pressure, they were finally able to gather the remains and bury them. 

Analysis of Security Challenges

  • Since the displacement of people beginning with Boko Haram attacks in 2013, victims have been battling with insecurity in their region. The security formations and installations have proven to not be enough for both Adamawa and Borno states.
  • Security forces don’t respond to attacks in adequate time and in some instances don’t respond at all.
  • Residents have been forced and often encouraged by local government to form their own vigilante groups to protect their communities.
  • In 2017, when they wanted to regain their communities from the Boko Haram. They selected community members as delegates to approach the Borno State government to help with a security installation to liberate their communities. The government refused to act.
  • Residents met with the former Caretaker Chairman, House of Assembly member and political stakeholders but VOP was told, “They deceived us by saying they would look into the matter but then deliberately refused. A community member said, “We believe the inaction occurred because we are a Christian community.” Later, they and concluded to hire the service of a local vigilante group to partner with their Christian youth to liberate their communities. “We had initial meetings with Muslims including Fulani herdsmen within the community, but to our dismay they betrayed us by withdrawing from the process.” We contributed between (N1000 –N2000) per household and called on some of our brethren based in the cities to send their contributions as well. We gathered around N700, 000 and approached the Vigilante leader at Gombi Village.
  • In that same week, a government delegation from Yobe State came to the same vigilante leader for the same job. Out of sympathy, he agreed to our request and decided to offer 30 trained vigilantes to be paid every month at a sum of N30, 000 each.
  • They stayed for 3 months and we spent a total amount of N6, 000,000.00 on their salaries and feedings. They worked hard, chased away the Boko Haram from our communities and gave us access to farming and other normal activities,
  • While we were enjoying the peace process, the insurgent had renewed strategies and used the herdsmen around the region and massively attacked the vigilante group and killed the leader. After that, they chased the Christians from their communities.                   

Challenges and Needs

  • We want to go back to our communities we need security so that we can start faming to feed ourselves; the government is not doing anything to help us. 
  • There is no good school for our kids; public school is inadequate for learning and prone to abduction at any moment. Although there is EYN private school, they charge N3,200 as tuition fee and it’s not affordable to most of us.
  • We need medical attention, spiritual reading materials and prayers to stand in these moments of trial and persecution. 

VOP Note: Please keep praying for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. Multiple attacks have taken place since this update.

Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria to care for our Christian brothers and sisters experiencing brutal persecution.

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. They will not be forgotten!

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We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on them. They have been so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through prayer and your support.

Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED
HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

Heavily armed, Boko Haram fighters attack Borno State capital in Nigeria’s northeast

Heavily armed, suspected Boko Haram fighters  launched attacks in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital in Nigeria’s northeast region. Residents scattered as gunshots were heard being fired in all directions of the Jiddari Polo area.

Security authorities say they have repelled the Boko Haram members. In a text, Brigadier General Sani Usman, Director of Army Public Relations, told people not to panic or flee as the military had the situation under control. Tense after hearing gunshots for a long period of time, many decided to leave their homes and sought safety in nearby locations. Locals residents are asking for our prayers.

During a national broadcast a week ago, it was reported that acting President Yemi Osinbajo said the government had re-organized, equipped the armed forces, and inspired them to heroic feats the against the Boko Haram insurgency. He said that the terrorist group which openly challenged the sovereignty and continued existence of Nigeria through killing, maiming, and abduction, causing the displacement of the largest number of citizens had now been routed.

The acting President was expected to visit Maiduguri, tomorrow and distribute relief material directly to thousands of victims of the Boko Haram.

Please pray we will soon see an end to the notorious group.

Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria to care for our Christians experiencing brutal persecution. If you would like to show your love and support for those who’ve faced unimaginable persecution, please support our Nigerian mission project, today.

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on orphan-306x4601them. They have been so encouraged and thankful for each one of you who have joined this mission through your prayers and support. Your gifts have brought so many smiles. THANK YOU!

Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. It will be a long term project. Donations always desperately needed

Suicide Bombers attack capital of Borno State

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(Voice of the Persecuted) Nigeria:  Two suicide bombers attacked the Kashuwa Shanu market in Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno State on Monday morning. The attack follows Nigerian President Buhari’s statement circulated on Christmas Day, which  declared a major victory against Boko Haram insurgents and announced the fall of the last enclave of Boko Haram militants in Sambisa forests to Nigerian troops. (more…)

Urgent Prayer Request Gun Battle and Explosions in North Nigeria

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(Voice of the Persecuted) While praying on the call with a church leader in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital in Nigeria, he informed us an explosion had just taken place on the outskirts of the city. We learned more explosions and an intense gun battle was taking place. Residents fled Dalori village as Boko Haram insurgents attacked. We are told the entire village was on fire and everyone was panicking. Fleeing villagers fear many have been injured or killed in the attack.

Please pray for Nigeria and the faithful who have suffered intensely. Pray for their faith to increase and that they will endure all trials in Christ, our Lord. In the name of Jesus, we pray they will have peace, protection and rest. We pray for the end of the conflict in Nigeria. Thank you, Father for the opportunity to love, be connected, hear their voices and pray for our Nigerian brothers and sisters. Glory to You, forever and ever! Amen

Jan. 31, 2016 READ UPDATE

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