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One day after 11 Christians in Nigeria were killed by militants on Christmas (see below), all members of a bridal party, including the bride, were killed as they headed to the wedding, according to CBN.
The communications director of a Catholic Diocese in Nigeria has confirmed that Martha Bulus, a bride-to-be, and all of the members of her bridal party were murdered by suspected Boko Haram insurgents at Gwoza on Dec. 26.
Father Francis Arinse told the Catholic News Service the group was on the way to the Bulus wedding which was scheduled for Dec. 31, when they were captured and killed by Islamic militants.
“They were beheaded by suspected Boko Haram insurgents at Gwoza on their way to her country home,” Arinse told CNS. He added that Bulus used to be his parishioner at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Maiduguri, after he was first ordained.
11 Nigerian Christians on Christmas Day in Gruesome Video
Terrorists linked to the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) released a video showing the execution of 11 Christian prisoners in Nigeria.
The Associated Press reports that the video was released on Dec. 26 and the killings possibly occurred on Christmas Day.
The captives identities were not mentioned, but an earlier video revealed they had been taken from the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe, The Independent reports.
A claim was made on the video the it was a message for all Christians.
Voice of the Persecuted Note: Despite government reports, the article below confirms multiple communications sent to VOP from our sources that the Boko Haram still controls a very large area in North Nigeria’s Gwoza Local Government area. Unable to return home, many Christians have been trying to survive in IDP camps for years.
A Chibok Parent, John Bassa, has stated that at least 49 towns in the north east, are still being occupied by Boko Haram insurgents.
He said this on Tuesday during a town hall organized by Channels to assess the performance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration in the last four years.
Bassa who stated that 44 of his relations who were Boko Haram commanders had been killed, and at least 50, were still “active and high-ranking officers of Boko Haram” controlling some territories, maintained that many towns are currently empty as a result of the insurgence.
When asked: “Are you saying that Boko Haram is still in control of some territories in the northeast, from where they plan and execute these attacks – he responded by saying “of course”.
He went further to explain that “out of 52 towns in Gwoza, its only three right now that you can freely live within. (that is, Limankara, Gwoza town and Pulka).
“Gwoza town was liberated by our former President Goodluck, one week before election then in 2015 and the new administration liberated Limankara and Pulka so, 49 towns are still empty with nobody apart from the Boko Haram. READ MORE
Morning Star News) – Adamu, 28, bears a scar on the back of his neck where two members of the Islamic extremist group Boko Harm tried to slaughter him.
A member of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) in Gwoza, Borno state in northeastern Nigeria, Adamu told Morning Star News that in April 2013 he was working on his bean farm in Musari village, in the Mungono area, when a member of the insurgent Boko Haram approached him.
“He told me to convert to Islam and join them in waging a jihad to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria,” said Adamu, whose surname is withheld for security reasons. “I told him that I will not renounce my Christian faith in order to embrace Islam. He left me there on my farm without saying anything again.”
Two days later, five other members of Boko Haram showed up. The insurgency is fighting to impose strict sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria.
“They said their member told them that I refused to renounce being a Christian and wanted to know whether it is true that I refused to become a Muslim,” Adamu said, adding that he told them it was true. “They then told me that since I refused to recant, they would kill me.”
When he refused their order to lie down, they seized him and tied his hands and legs behind his back, he said.
“They pinned me down and told me they will make death painful and slow, as they are not prepared to waste their bullets on me,” he said. “They also said they would not give me the honor of slaughtering me by cutting my neck from the front, because that is the way they slaughter their rams.
“They forced me down on my stomach and then proceeded to slaughter me by cutting my neck from the back. I was bleeding and went blank as the knife cut through my neck. It was pains I cannot explain to you. After cutting my neck, they left me bleeding.”
Adamu lay there for days, he said, adding that his survival was miraculous; only later would he learn that the Boko Haram members had threatened to kill anyone in the village who helped him.
“It was only after I was taken to the hospital that I was told that the Boko Haram members who attacked me on the farm had gone to the village shortly after leaving me bleeding to death and had warned other Muslims that if any of them dares to rescue me, he would be killed,” he said. “They sternly warned other Muslims in Musari, ‘We have butchered an infidel there on his farm. Be warned that if any of you Muslims dares to assist him, he is also an infidel and we shall make sure that he too is killed.”
Though the villagers were afraid to rescue him, eventually a member of his church snuck onto the farm and found him alive, he said.
“He went back to the village and mobilized some of our church members who came to the farm and took me away,” Adamu said.
They took him to a Christian hospital in Cameroon.
“I was taken to Adventist Hospital, Koza, in Cameroon, and treated for three months before I was referred to this hospital here in Jos,” Adamu said. “The cut on my neck, doctors say, has affected some nerves and veins in my body, thereby making it difficult for me to move my limbs. Right now, I am still learning how to move my hands and legs.”
Adamu said that before the attack on his farm, Boko Harm destroyed his EYN church building in Musari, and all Christians there fled.
“As I talk to you, there are no more Christians in Musari village,” he said. “They attacked Christians and destroyed the church building where we worship. Our pastor and other Christians, about 120 of them, were forced to flee.”
Boko Haram and others killed 1,631 Christians in Nigeria for their faith in the first six months of 2014 – a figure that is 91 percent of the total Christians killed in the country in all of last year, according to advocacy group Jubilee Campaign. Last year 1,783 Nigerian Christians were killed for their faith, according to Jubilee Campaign. The increase in Christian deaths this year accompanies an increase in the total number of people killed during the period, mainly by Boko Haram – 4,099, which is 975 more than the total deaths from attacks by religious extremists for all of last year, 3,124, according to Jubilee.
While Boko Haram (translated as “Western education is a sin”) is the moniker residents of Maiduguri, Borno state gave the insurgents, the group calls itself the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal–Jihad, translated as “The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad.” The United States designated it as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in November 2013.
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population of 158.2 million, while Muslims account for 45 percent and live mainly in the north.
Boko Haram violence has increased in number and force since 2009 after it developed ties with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). A 29-year-old Christian in Kauri, Borno state who felt the force of Boko Harm weaponry in December 2012 said he would invite his assailants to dine with him.
A married father of three children ages 7, 5 and 1, Ayuba (surname withheld) told Morning Star News he has forgiven the gunmen who shot him three times.
“Despite my ordeal at the hands of these Boko Haram gunmen, I want to assure you that I hold no grudges against them,” he said. “If I see any of them today, I will still welcome them to my house and feed them. Jesus Christ, our Lord, taught us to love those who hate us.”
Ayuba and his wife were working on their farm in the village of Mainari, on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest in Borno state, on Dec. 20, 2012, when he returned to his house to rest. He was surprised to find two motorcycles parked beside his house, he said.
“I parked my motorcycle outside the house too, and then went inside, and just then I heard movement outside the house,” he said.
He went out to find two armed Boko Haram members; they asked him his name. When he told them, they asked if it was true that he was a Christian. A member of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), he responded that he was.
“From their utterances I knew that they must have gotten detailed information about me from our Muslim neighbors in Mainari village,” he said. “Having confirmed I was the person they were looking for, they told that my end had come. ‘You have refused to become a Muslim in spite of all pressure from our Muslim brothers here,’ one of them told me. ‘You have refused to renounce your faith in Jesus. So, we have no option than to kill you.’”
He then recalled that Muslims in Kauri twice had tried to convert him.
“I braced up and asked the gunmen why they want to kill me simply because I am a Christian, and the second among the two gunmen told me that, ‘You are an infidel, and we do not want to have infidels living among us here.’”
They demanded money and the keys to his motorbike. After forcefully taking the keys to his vehicle and removing 35,000 naira (US$212) from his pocket, they told him to lie down because they were going to shoot him, he said.
“Instead of obeying their instructions, I started praying,” he said. “They became angry because I was praying out loud and calling on the name of Jesus. They shoved me in an effort to force me down to the ground. Eventually they succeeded in forcing me to the ground, and then one of them ordered his colleague to shoot me.”
He heard a gunshot, and a bullet pierced his left hand, which he had used to cover his chest, he said. A second shot aimed at his stomach, which he was covering with his right hand. The bullet pierced his right hand.
“To the surprise of the gunmen, they found I was still alive and praying,” he said. “The gunman who gave the orders that I should be shot was angry that his colleague did not kill me in spite of two point-blank gunshots.”
The one who had given the orders angrily cocked his gun and shot at his forehead, he said.
“One experience I will not forget throughout my life is that the bullet from the third shot hit me on my forehead and bounced to hit me on my right shoulder, instead of penetrating through my skull,” he said. “To me, this is a miracle, as I cannot explain how three shots were fired at me at point-blank range, yet I was still alive.”
The two Boko Haram gunmen took him for dead as they rode away, he said.
“After about an hour, my wife returned to find me on the spot where I was shot,” he said. “I still could talk, but the state she saw me in was shocking to her, so she began to cry.”
He asked her to search for help, which did not arrive until five hours later. He had been shot at about 3 p.m., and a neighbor his wife found came to help him at 8 p.m., he said. He was taken first to Kauri, then to General Hospital in Konduga. Doctors treating him there advised that he be taken away lest the Boko Haram gunmen trace him and kill him at the hospital.
His wife and other relatives moved him to Adventist Hospital at Kozat, Cameroon, where he remained for three months before going to an undisclosed town.
Boko Haram has destroyed his COCIN church building in Kauri, he said, and all Christians there have fled.
“Some of our church members died in the attack by Boko Haram gunmen, while others were forced to flee to Cameroon, where they are now refugees,” he said. “I have been praying that these Boko Haram gunmen will eventually get to know Jesus, repent of their crimes against the church, and become the followers of Jesus.”
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Nigeria (Morning Star News) – After weeks of sacking villages and destroying church buildings around Nigeria’s northeastern town of Gwoza, Islamic extremist group Boko Haram on Wednesday (Aug. 6) killed an estimated 100 people in the predominantly Christian town, sources said.
The shooting, fire-bombing and slashing of men, women and children in Gwoza, Borno state, as initially the military reportedly fled before an insurgent force backed by international terrorist groups, began at about 4 a.m., producing eyewitness assertions that Boko Haram, which seeks to impose sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria, had taken control of the town of more than 276,000 people. Local residents reportedly said at least 100 people had been killed.
The full magnitude of the attack and the Nigerian military response was unknown as most sources have been forced to flee to Cameroon or Adamawa state, but on the initial day of the assault Pirda Tada, a Christian resident of Saha village, told Morning Star News that Boko Haram gunmen arrived in Toyota Hilux vehicles and motorcycles and attacked houses with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and fuel-bombs.
“I thank God for sparing my life, but three of my neighbors and members of our church were killed during the attack,” Tada said. “These Christians in our village had their throats slit with knives while their hands were tied behind their backs. Some houses were bombed as the Boko Haram gunmen were chanting, ‘God is great!’ in Arabic.”
Six Christians were killed at Saha village, and the insurgents destroyed houses and shops and burned the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) building in Pegi Barawa village, Tada said. Boko Haram rebels on July 19 had attacked Saha and Pegi Barawa village, near Gwoza; six Christians were reported to have been killed in Saha village.
Francis Mbala of Gwoza confirmed that Boko Haram attacked Saha and Pegi Barawa this week.
“The COCIN church and some houses and shops were burned down,” he told Morning Star News.
Since December, Boko Haram has also attacked in the Gwoza area the villages of Mainok, Barawa, Chinne, Arbakko, Attagara, Ngoshe, Klala, Kunde, Hembe, Gathahure, Klala, Himbe, Amuda, Agapalawa, Ashigashiya, and Chikedeh, Mbala said.
John Gula, a leader in the Christian community in Gwoza, told Morning Star News by phone that 42 Christians were killed at Attagara village; 24 in Agajara; four in Angurva; 20 in Agapalwa; one in Amuda; three in Alavawa; 13 in Chinene; three in Arboko; one in Ashigashiya; and one in Ngoshe.
It is estimated that more than 300,000 Christians have been displaced from the greater area, forcing many to flee to neighboring Cameroon.
In December Christian leaders had reported plans by Boko Haram to attack Christian communities in Gwoza. COCIN leaders and the denomination’s Gwoza District Church Council (DCC), in collaboration with the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Gwoza, sent a petition to the Borno state government and security agencies reporting a threatening letter that Boko Haram had sent to Christian communities in Gwoza.
“You have been fleeing your homes, but we are still pursuing you, because the soldiers with you people cannot protect you,” the letter reads. “Your lives, farmlands and other property are also not safeguarded. Allah willing, we shall not fail to attack your communities and the listed churches in this letter.”
In December 2013, 15 Christians were killed, 274 houses were burned and 12 church buildings were destroyed by Boko Haram gunmen, the Christian leaders wrote in their letter. Yakubu Toeye, a Christian from Gwoza, told Morning Star News that the 12 church buildings destroyed in December were located in the Gwoza hills settlements of Kunde, Hembe, Gathahure, Himbe and Klala.
The Rev. Joel Y. Ndirmbita, secretary of the COCIN DCC, signed the petition calling attention to the plight of Christians in Gwoza area.
“We consider it an onerous task to bring to your notice an attempt and grand design to wipe us, Christians, from the face of the earth by some who claim to be members of the Boko Haram sect,” Ndirmbita and others wrote. “Boko Haram has perfected plans to launch an attack against us as contained in their threat letter of July 8, 2013, and addressed it to various churches in the Gwoza Local Council…They have now commenced … by attacking us and uprooting crops on our farmlands and spraying them with chemicals.”
By Our Nigerian Correspondent
Nigeria (Voice of the Persecuted) – The deadly attack on Attagara village on June 3, 2014 by Islamic militants, continues to claim more lives as the death toll raises from 168 to 202. More casualties were located in caves where insurgents found and killed the victims where they hid from the attackers.
We are troubled by an interview with an elderly woman who took part in the burial of the corpses. She recounted that, “Over 40 children have been buried so far. Five decomposing bodies of the children were found in the stream.”
“We had no other option than to stay behind and bury our husbands and children,” a witness told our correspondent “We were told by the insurgents to become Muslim and wear a veil (HAMAR), or else they would come back to kill us. But we preferred to die, than leave our brethren unburied.”
Sources proved that it will be difficult for the survivors to come down from the hills. The area is still under the control of the insurgents. All roads leading to the towns are now occupied by the insurgents. Residents are unable to return to even bury the dead, it is too dangerous.
Witnessing the grisly scene of insurgents slaughtering their families and friends weighs heavily in their minds. The gunmen dressed in military uniforms had convinced residents that they had come to provide protection. One witness of the carnage said, “No military personnel has yet to be seen. And even if they come to rescue us, we will never trust them.”
The affected villages are near the Mandara Mountains, close to the border with Cameroon. Boko Haram has many times targeted the people of the area.
It is confirmed that thousands have fled to Cameroon, Adamawa and Taraba. Survival conditions are grim, as there is virtually nothing there for them to eat.
Verifying the whereabouts of the resident pastors, our correspondent gathered that Reverend David D. Fa’aya in charge of the Church of the Brethren(EYN) in Atagara, had a terrifying encountered with the insurgents at the church compound. He narrowly escaped, but not without sustaining a devastating injury. He is presently receiving treatment in a Cameroon Hospital.
Rev. Bitrus Talaka of the EYN church in Agapalwa and Pastor John Lamisa of National Evangelical Mission church, jumped over a fence and ran bare foot for several kilometers to escape the brutal attack. Rev. Calip Mbahi of the EYN church in Angurva is still missing. Distraught, a victim said, “We don’t know whether he is dead or alive.
Villagers are still missing and the number of dead is still expected to rise. A local political figure claimed, “The killings were massive.”
- Pray for the our Christian family in Nigeria.
- Pray for those suffering great loss.
- Pray for the victims needs to be met.
- Pray they will be able to forgive
- Pray for the lost.
- Pray for peace in Nigeria.
Article may be reprinted with credit to Voice of the Persecuted
By Our Nigerian Foreign Correspondent
(Voice of the Persecuted) The death toll in the bloody attack on the Christian community continues to rise this morning. As of 4th June 2014, a reliable source who went to Attagara reconfirmed the number of casualties stating that an additional 88 bodies were found, bringing the total to 168 casualties. “I counted the corpses with my hands”, he said. Most of them were children and youths.
Another source gave some information on the figures.
- 52 people died at the church compound.
- 48 in the nearby village, Aganjara.
- 29 were found death in a cave after the insurgents trapped and opened fire on them.
- 3 were roasted in a fire.
- 36 were slain with a knife and thrown on the street.
“The attack was so terrible that the actual figure could yet be determined,” he said.
A woman who witnessed the slaughter of her 9 year old son, wailed as she spoke to our correspondent by phone describing the terror. They drug her son and slew him. They then grabbed for her younger child who is still nursing, intending to slaughter the innocent. She gripped the insurgents and was able to escape with her baby. “I ran for over 40 kilometers. Only God knows the people that were killed,” said the woman.
A elderly Christian man faced the Boko Haram and died as martyr when the insurgents slashed his body part by part with a sword. He had bravely told them,
“IF YOU DON’T REPENT OF KILLING INNOCENT CHRISTIANS THAT BELIEVE IN JESUS, THEIR BLOOD WILL JUDGE YOU.”
This statement provoked the insurgents and they beheaded the 80 year old man, a witness said.
It was gathered that more people were still missing and many of the dead had not yet been retrieved from the hills and nearby bush. “I don’t know how to explain this tragedy,” a Pastor lamented. “We just found 2 children lying dead in the toilet.” A Community leader who demanded anonymity, confirmed that so many corpses were seen without heads. Many are still in hills and backyards,” he noted.
Very early this morning, the insurgents were seen headed towards Jubrili village with over 400 goats and sheep, 50 cows and valuable items they had looted from the Christians. 10 of them were seen carrying AK 47’s and moving the animals, a witness said. “Go there, you will see them,” he told our correspondent. “They would never crossed to Cameroon because the border is being well guarded. But they were trying to move the animals to Sambisa, because our security would never be there,” he added.
More details tomorrow…..
Note: Soldiers are claiming they could not go to the areas because they did not receive orders from their command headquarters. We ask, “Why not?
Article may be reprinted with credit to Voice of the Persecuted
By VOP Foreign Correspondent, Nigeria
History of Christianity in the Village
Gavva East is a predominantly Christian village in Gwoza local government of Borno State, Nigeria. It lies behind the hills were neighboring Muslim villages considered extreme by some, continually abuse the Christian’s hoping they will leave the region. More than 7,000 Christians lived in the village with over 1,000 attending the Church of Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), and another church hosting 800 Christians per service— with many church ministers attending to the spiritual needs of the members.
The villages were able to produce Christian council members in the local government offices. They fought for the Christians needs, those in poverty and other related human rights issues. Their work resulted in a struggle with the Muslim of community. They suffered intense persecution and were hated for their faith, with many religious clashes and conflicts between them. The Muslims even boycotted the Christians businesses, but the unity among the Christians, helped them to remain strong.
On 4th November, 2013, over 100 insurgents stormed into Gavva East village around 6:40pm. They came with heavy weapons and explosives to destroy the entire village. Their purpose was to make sure the Christians in the community were no more.
The insurgents came from the Mandara mountains, where their headquarters was located. They followed the narrow path that lead to the village through the water reservoir (Dam) located at the entrance of the village. Upon their arrival, they grabbed an elderly Christian called Musa Kidama (75 yrs) whose house was near the dam. They shot the old man in the leg, cut his head and slashed his throat. Afterwards they went straight to the town and started destroying the houses, shops and killed anything that moved, including the animals.
The Christians had been on alert and prepared for impending attacks. Many times in the past and without success, they had tried to overpower the Christian village. The day of the invasion, they were left with an option to face the insurgents, or evacuate. The women and children had been trained to escape as to go unnoticed. The Christians crawled on the ground to the hills and caves to hide. This reduced the death toll to only 3 villagers. Ishaku Tagmala (50), with 6 children, John Musa Ruwa (53) with 8 children and Musa Kadama (75) with 3 children. All were caught unarmed, their bodies cut to pieces and throats slit. Some who had been hiding witnessed the event. They told our correspondent that the insurgents became enraged when they could not find more Christians to kill. And why the attack was so harsh and the victims brutally killed.
Christians homes singled out by insurgents
A well known leader of the village who demanded anonymity, spoke with our correspondent about the conspiracy of the Muslims that were living in their midst. He stated that when the insurgents reached the main town, he saw a Muslim villager following the attackers and pointing at Christian houses, shops and vehicles to be destroyed. The Muslim’s property, houses, vehicles and animals were left untouched. It seemed it had been pre-planned by the Muslim community who had given direction to the insurgents for the horrific strike on the village.
He recalled that Christians and Muslims had been living in the same apartment building in the neighborhood. Lead by the Muslim neighbor, the insurgents burnt the Christian dwellings, while sparing the Muslim apartment. Witnesses claimed the insurgents must have been informed by an insider. The Christians affected commented that the insurgents were very bias in the attack. “The Muslims animals were not touched. Even animals owned by Christians in close proximity to a Muslim resident were spared. Any near Christian properties, were killed. It was very clear that even the untagged animals were targeted based on religion that day. The attackers took the Christians property as spoils of war, a religious war.
EYN CHURCH N0. 3 (GAVVA EAST)
When the attackers discovered that all the Christians had escaped to other villages and the hills, they headed to the Church of Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) lead by Rev. James I. Hena. It was a large church with a seating capacity of over 1000 people.
The insurgents bombed the church completely burning it down. All musical instruments, chairs, transportation vehicles, books and other relevant documents were destroyed. After making sure the church was completely razed, they proceeded to the homes of church members and savagely looted all their belongings, including livestock, food and other valuable items.
Guided by the indigenous Muslims, they were able to locate the Christian houses and set a total of 63 on fire. They looted items such as 115 bags of corn, 177 goats/sheeps,5 large cows, 35 bags of seed, 68 bags of groundnuts, 17 motor cycles and 15 bicycles, 57 bags of beans, 6 large generators, 50 small generators, chairs, sewing machines. All much needed for their survival.
Eyewitnesses also victimized, told our Nigerian reporter that the extremists came completely prepared to destroy the entire village. They also claimed the Christians were singled out.
They included, Joshua Dawa, Andrawus Digawara, Yusuf Andrawus, John Adamu, Ali Musa, Bitrus Kwaza, Ibrahim Musa, Bitrus Yakubu, Yakubu Zangadah, Andrawus Guyakuma, Joshua Yakubu, Gulas Joseph, Andrawus Bitrus, Bulama Gaya, Musa Zuwarva, Gwani Suka, Yohanna Guyakuma, Bitrus Gwada, Ishaku Joshua and others who are not listed.
Our reporter gathered that Rev. Andrawus Zakariah, an indigenous pastor serving with EYN was targeted to be assassinated by the insurgents, because of his vibrancy in converting souls to Christ. They became infuriated when they were unable to locate him at his residence. They plundered his food, livestock and motor cycle. While chanting “Allahu Akbar,” they set fire to his house and left the village.
EYN CHURCH N0 1 (GAVVA EAST)
After sending the looted items to their camps, the rebels went to destroy the second church and fired rounds at the compound. They burned down the large church with a seating capacity for 800 members, destroying it and everything inside. A Muslim insider went ahead of them and pointed out the Christians properties.
They advanced to the Christian homes of John Lawan Zuwa, Barka Bitrus, John Navwal Hutsa, Ali Tada Vuba, Ayuba Wallah, Andrawus Yava, John Yava, Yohanna Yava, Bitrus Dagwaya, Yohanna Dauda and Luka Dzasa. All the houses were looted, burnt and destroyed by the insurgents.
Another Muslim insider turned their attention to the Christian homes of Yaya Moses, Ali Adamu Madiya, Yohanna Adamu, Rebecca John, Luka Tadda Kwaza, Adamu Musa Fudama, Sule Naghakva, Yusuf Ibrahim Nglamuda, Yusuf Zuwa Wurka, Samsun Kudama, Russa Yusufu, John Zanga, Yusuf Gwalla, Ishaya Ali, Ibrahim Bitrus and many others not recorded.
One of the victims calculated the looted property and destruction. He numbered 53 dwellings set ablaze in the #3 Ward of the town. 15 motorcycles, 5 sewing machines, 12 sets of electronic devices and 88 sets of executive cushions and chairs were destroyed by fire. Others items looted included 89 cows, 36 sheep, mattresses and mats, 7 bags of benniseed, 4 generators and most distressing 439 bags of beans. Devastating for the Christian neighborhood, the much needed items were looted or destroyed by the insurgents.
REDEEMED CHURCH OF GOD (GAVVA EAST)
Crazed by all the destruction, they ramped up their attack when another indigenous Muslim sent them towards the Redeem Church of God. They bombed the small church with explosives and destroyed all it’s contents. Ending their attack, they shot into the air chanting “Alhammudulla”( meaning “thank you Allah”) and fled to their camps.
Motive for the Attack
Our correspondent investigated the details of the damage done to the Christians in Gawa – East. He reported the terror operations carried out against the Christians of the community was disturbing. He noted: During the attack when fires had advanced to the Muslim properties, insurgents had helped the Muslims put the fires out. He concluded the attack was a deliberate attempt by the Muslims in the community to eliminate the Christians. It is apparent by the nature of the operations and the brutal attack against Christians and their properties, while the neighboring Muslims were spared.
Current Situation for the Christians
The Christian community was rendered helpless with barely anything to eat, and scattered as displaced people in the Cameroon Republic. Some went to Adamawa State, others died in their homes, rather than roaming about without anything to eat. Our reporter was moved with compassion when witnessing the difficult circumstances of the women and children who were malnutritioned, exposed to diseases and other ailments in the camps. The situation was hopeless and spiraling out of control, and help is not forthcoming.
Documented evidence proved that the government officials, NGO’s, nor humanitarian agencies had not yet helped the victims and displaced people. The little help that was received came from the Gwoza Christian Community Association (GCCA). They donated a small sum of money and brought relief materials for the emergency needs of the people. Also the (CAN) president donated grains, sleepers, salt and a small sum of cash for the refugees. To this date, the refugees are still suffering from trauma, unsanitary conditions and the lack of daily needs for survival.
Article/photos may be reprinted with link and credit to VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED
Investigative Report: By VOP Foreign Correspondent, Nigeria.
An overview of the village
Ngoshe Samma is located in the hills and mountainous region of the Mandara Mountains in Gwoza local government area of Borno State, Nigeria. The people living in this area were the first reached by missionaries with a vision for church planting. The outreach was very successful and many traditional herbalists, native authorities and the people practicing paganism were converted. Churches were quickly built and the work of the missionaries expanded. Multitudes found their way to the new churches and accepted Christ as their personal savior. Close to 90% of the indigenous people converted to Christianity.
Ngoshe Samma is sometimes mistaken for Ngoshe Glavda village. The two villages were originally called Ngoshe, but later separated with Ngoshe Samma located at the top of the mountains and Ngoshe Glavda located on surface land. Fifty percent of the Ngoshe Glavda population was Christian.
The Christian communities continued to grow and expand. They built sturdy houses, sent their children to school and specialized in large scale farming and other various businesses. Ngoshe Samma had over 400 Christian families, the majority attended the Church of Christ (COCIN) and the Church of Brethren, (EYN).
But the Muslims in the area grew intolerant of them and their Christian faith.
MAJOR ATTACK ON THE NGOSHE SAMMA VILLAGE: (FIRST DAY)
Sharing his experience with our correspondent, Mr. Irmiya Dangawa (52 yrs) lamented on the situation as not only persecution, but rated the destruction as a deliberate agenda by the Muslim community to force out Christianity from the entire Gwoza local government. Other eye witnesses of the three day terror operation spoke on the same issues. They said on the first day of attacks, about 34 insurgents came around 6:45pm with heavy weapons such as AK-47’s and explosives. They stormed into the town and started shooting into the air chanting, “Allahu Akbar” meaning Allah is great. They separated to different areas of the villages, killing, looting anything of value, destroying and burning houses and the churches. Their operations were well staged and organized, as they carried out their attacks systematically, one after another.
Stage One (November/17/2013)
The first stage of the operation started from Angwan Lawan, which was also called (Ngalamaham) ward. They set explosive devices and bombed the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), they killed two Christians and broke into houses looting any valuable property inside. Afterwards, they set the houses ablaze. They proceeded to Kololo ward, ransacked all the houses, removed everything and set the houses on fire. Eluding the terrorists was extremely difficult for the villagers. Most had to crawl face down on their stomachs to escape.
The rebels invaded Ngulok ward and captured two young men, slaughtered them and threw their remains into a cave. They searched all the houses and removed all their contents. They ransacked Christian shops and took any money that was found. This concluded their first phase of the attacks and the Christians were left in pools of blood and serious agony.
Stage Two (November/17/2013)
After the insurgents had rested, they stockpiled the looted items and headed to Zerande Village. They stormed into the ward, burnt houses and shot at anyone who came out, including animals. They separated into two groups; the first group went to COCIN church, the other went to the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN). While chanting, “Allahu Akbar” they threw bombs into the churches. The explosions brought down the church buildings, which collapsed and destroyed the many food items and documents stored inside.
They then went to the Christian Dispensary which had been established for many years. They removed medical equipment, pharmaceutical drugs and apparatus, planted two bombs and the building came down in a pile of ashes. Not far away, a clinic quarters that was built for the hospital workers, was also destroyed by multiple bomb blasts.
Stage Three (November 17, 2013)
After securing all the looted items, they proceeded to Ngarale ward. They first packed up all the Christians belongings, then set their homes on fire. From there, they went to Angwon Dangwawuhw, but most of the Christians had already fled. The insurgents shot the animals, burnt the houses and dragged away goods.
A resident wishing to remain anonymous, was hiding and watching the event take place. He told our correspondent, the insurgents could not carry away all the items and wanted to enslave some of the Christians to carry the heavy load. They started running after the villagers, but were unsuccessful to capture anyone. Out of their frustration and anger, they slaughtered 22 goats. He added, “It was only God that kept me hidden from the insurgents, or else they could have set fire to my location and killed me.”
He grieved, “I saw them with my own eyes. The animals and livestock were shot and killed, because they could not find any of us to carry their loads.” The rebels ransacked homes and confiscated 13 motorcycles. Everything was either taken or destroyed. As night fell, they sent some of their members to take the looted goods to their camps in the hills. Others stayed behind and slept in the village waiting for daybreak. In the morning, they gathered more livestock and sent them to their camps.
CHRISTIANS NEGLECTED AFTER REPORTING ATTACKS TO AUTHORITIES
While the attacks, looting and killings continued; some of the Christians ran to the District head of Gwoza (Alh. Ibrahim Abbas ) pleading for help. They begged for security men to be deployed to the area. They were given lame excuses that the Military and Police were not in joint operation. He said even if they were informed, they would never go to end the violent attacks. Desparate, the villagers reported the matter to the Emir of Gwoza ( Alhaji Shehu Idrisa Timta) who sympathized with them and said to seek protection from the Cameroon government. He remarked that the Nigerian security would only delay and not come to their immediate aid. Even so, he advised them to report to the military checkpoint with their request for help. The military men said security forces could not be deployed, because Ngoshe Samma was not part of their jurisdiction. Crushed, they left disillusioned and abandoned by those they had thought were there to protect them.
With no where else to turn, they mounted up the courage to travel through an area where insurgents had waited to ambush them. One insurgent on guard and tired, was unexpectedly caught by the returning villagers and they severely beat him. They tied him up and took him to the Army men, who executed him when bullets were found in his pocket. Elsewhere, the insurgents were busy planning their second attack for the following morning.
MAJOR ATTACK – DAY 2 (November/18/2013)
Before the rebels restarted their attacks, they designated an area of the village as an emergency Mosque to pray and thank Allah for giving them success over the Christians. The villagers hiding nearby, said the rebels vowed to carry out a three day operation. They claimed with confidence that no security forces or their weapons could stop them, because Allah was leading their mission. They even invited the security forces to come and attack them. Emboldened, they set out to begin their planned attacks to be carried out phase by phase on the Christian communities.
Phase One (November/18/2013 )
The rebels started with a house of HAMSA, packed up all the property and set it ablaze. They advanced to the house of a wealthy, prominent christian who spoke for Believers in the community. They took some of his belonging and burnt the rest. They chanted, “Allahu Akbar” in the centre of the village, while roaming about with the Christian’s property. When they discovered most of the Christians had evacuated, they set over 100 houses ablaze hoping to flush out those in hiding and shoot them.
Phase Two (November/18/2013)
They detonated explosives in strategic locations and set up an ambush for security men, expecting to engage them in battle. They waited for the forces to show up, but they never arrived. They took livestock, food items and anything of value, then sent them to their camps. Before leaving they set off bombs which burnt 6 churches, killed 4 people and set fire to the entire village where 400 families had resided.
THE SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS AFTER THE ATTACK
It was heart wrenching when our correspondent interacted with some of the women and children, now homeless and displaced in the open cold weather. The majority had nothing to eat and many were sick with no medical attention, because everything had been destroyed.
Our reporter’s investigation revealed that all in the Christian community had been scattered. Some fled to the Cameroon refugee camps, others stayed in the Nigerian camps. Most who spoke to our reporter believed that God Almighty had helped them to forgive their enemy. With all the persecution they had endured, the Christians were not holding it against the attackers.
Their village head equally displaced, visited all the camps on 11/19/2013. Accompanied by a Christian brother called Irmiya, they went together to sympathize with the refugees, as they considered it all as a test of faith. They also thanked the Cameroon authority for keeping the refugees in a safe area.
CAMEROON INTENTIONS FOR THE CHRISTIAN REFUGEES
Due to the terrible attacks on the villages and perpetual hunger that bewildered the people, they were taken to refugee camps in Cameroon. They were taking care of the woman and children and assured their safety. They fed them daily and provided drugs for the sick.
A prominent leader of the village told the VOP correspondent, that some of the refugees were taken from the nearest camp on the Cameroon border to almost 120 km towards Mokolo Town in Cameroon. Their explanation for doing this action was that they were free to change their citizenship, if they were willing. When the leader of the displaced villagers heard the news, he warned that the Christians wanted to one day return home. The refugees have refused the proposal to become Cameroon citizens.
GOVERNMENT’S NEGLECT OF THE REFUGEES IN GWOZA
When the devastating attacks became overwhelming, the Gwoza Christian Community Association (GCCA) petitioned the Governor in an open letter about plight of over 14,000 displaced Christians. Instead of the governor looking into the matter for a proper assessment, he neglected the association and inaugurated a committee of twenty Muslims, including two Christians. The committee was under a state legislator who was known as a fanatic who supported the rebel insurgency. Another prominent committee member was the Commissioner of Commerce in Borno state, who had converted to Islam. Though her father is a Christian, she was cited to be bias in dealing with the Christian community.
Part of the responsibility of the committee was to look into plight of the Christians and disburse ₦100,000,000 ($626,364.83) to the affected Christians. Concerned, the Christians questioned how Muslims can effectively chair a committee that affects a Christian community. Not a single Pastor or church leader was among them. To pacify the people for Christian representation, the two Christian political figures were added to the committee. Some members of the community told our correspondent that the two Christians were not known for strong faith, and were being used to achieve a malicious agenda.
AGENDA OF THE COMMITTEE
While the committee was compiling the list of villages affected, they deliberately omitted the name of Ngoshe-Samma and other badly affected Christian villages. They were recommending only Muslim areas who had been looting the Christian properties, while they had been displaced.
This action provoked the Christians of Ngoshe Samma to call a meeting. Irmiya Dangwa blasted the committee with insults, accusing them of self centeredness with a motive to push the Christians out of the area. In his speech, he assured them that nobody abuses Christians without being accountable to God, including the committee members. He as well lambasted the so-called Christians that joined the committee, telling them to their faces that God would also judge them. Afterwards, they asked him to give them some time to reconsider the options.
Later, they apologized to him and promised they would review the plan. They also contributed ₦100,000 ($626.00) out of their own pockets and bought 20 bags of maize for him to take back to his people, before the final decision was made. It was later noted that the State Governor dissolved the committee for a reason unknown to the populace. As of this date, nothing has been given to Christian communities.
PRESENT SITUATION OF THE CHRISTIANS
Our correspondent who visited the five refugee camps, was able to gather that the Christians were seriously suffering and receiving no type of help. They are appealing to international organizations to come to their aid, to give the displaced Christians a little comfort and means for survival.
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