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Christians Slain in and near Jos, Nigeria, including 12 Children

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen and suspected local Muslims killed 40 Christians in and near Jos, Nigeria in attacks on Aug. 25 and Aug. 15, sources said.

Armed with machetes and guns, herdsmen attacked the predominantly Christian community of Yelwa Zangam, Jos North County on the night of Aug. 25, killing 16 Christians and then burning to death 17 others when setting fire to their homes, area residents said. The dead included 12 children.

Local community leader Sunday Bunu identified the 16 Christians gunned down or killed by machete as Na’omi Joshua, a 12-year-old girl; Blessing Joshua, a 15-year-old girl; Rejoice Bala, a 19-year-old woman; Dashe Daniel Ganga, a 90-year-old woman; Mercy Daniel Ganga, a 40-year-old woman; Monica Ishaya, 38; men killed were Daniel Igyem Ganga, 110; Bulus Bagudu 45; Yohanna Bala, 42; Joshua Daniel, 40; Samson Danjuma, 26; Michael Busa, 25; Timothy Bitrus, 25; Naphthali Amos, 24; Philemon Bitrus, 22; and Uwenni Joshua, 20.

Burned beyond recognition in the house fires, according to Bunu, was a 4-year-old girl, Timara Ishaya; a 5-year-old girl, Goodness Bala; an 8-year-old girl, Lovina Markus; a 13-year-old girl, Susana Ishaya; Halima Asabulu, 90; Sylvia Ajida, 56; Paulina Asabulu, 50; Deborah Asabulu, 37; Bridget Nathaniel, 20; boys killed were Ephraim Hosea, 9; Titus Bitrus, 13; Titus Ajida, 16; Silvanus Dauda, 17; Barnaba Hosea, 17; and Yunana Bitrus, 17; men killed were Yahanum Solomon, 18, and Babuka Bitrus, 75.

Yelwa Zangam resident Bitrus Pada confirmed that 33 Christians were killed in the attacks in the area, which is near the University of Jos, while several others received hospital treatment for injuries. Pada said he lost two members of his family in the attacks.

“Those of us who survived this attack need urgent supply of food items and temporary shelter, as most of our possessions were burned and looted by the herdsmen,” Pada told Morning Star News.

Johnson Jauro, a top leader of the predominantly Christian Anaguta people in Jos, confirmed the attacks, as did area resident Jeremiah Bulus. Bulus said the herdsmen shot Christians as they slept in their houses at about 10 p.m.

“Corpses have been taken to the mortuary,” Bulus said. “We are still making efforts to recover more corpses from several houses which the herdsmen also set ablaze. The situation is really bad for us.”

‘Let Her Blood Speak’

Three Christian university students in Jos were killed on Aug. 15 by suspected local Muslims, as were four other Christians in and near Jos in separate attacks, sources said.

The three Christian students of the University of Jos were identified as Doris Bitrus Danboyi, Bagu Christopher and Iyaye Abuma Shedrack. Bitrus Danboyi, a student of the Department of Religion and Philosophy, was killed while returning to campus from her church worship, according to her uncle, Godwin Tengong.

“Islamists killed my niece while she was coming back from church! Let her blood speak!” Tengong said.

Area resident Lilian Madaki said that Bitrus Danboyi was killed around Bauchi Road Junction in Jos on her way back from church. Ayuba Iliya, a member of her Assembly of God church, said in a text message that his wife taught her in Sunday school.

“I watched this girl grow,” Iliya said. “She couldn’t have been above 20, yet the human vampires snuffed life out of her, while the government has kept a conspiratorial silence on the deaths of many more innocent children killed in the heart of town.”

A relative, Saje Daniel Dalyop, said Bitrus Danboyi made a great impact for Christ at only 20 years old.

“She is indeed a martyr,” Dalyob said. “Our loss but Heaven’s gain. Jesus remains Lord.”

The body of Christopher, a history and international studies student at the university, was found Aug. 15 after he had gone missing, said student Atomigba Tordoo.

“He was killed by Muslims in the town,” Tordoo said.

Shedrack, a first-year student of microbiology, was stabbed to death by suspected local Muslims in Jos. Danladi Joshua Adankala, president of the Students’ Union of the University of Jos, said in a text message, “The incident of Sunday, Aug. 15, resulted in the brutal killings of Christian students by some elements guided by inhuman and barbaric philosophies.”

Adankala said two other Christian students of the university, Mafeng Ezekiel and Mangal Joseph, were still missing and three others wounded.

“Three Christian students, Moses Joyce Tsaku, Kwaghaondo Kingsley Aondona and Peace Isaiah, were stabbed and injured by the Muslims,” he said.

Four other Christians were reportedly killed on Aug. 15 by local Muslims in the Terminus, Yan Trailer and Katako areas in Jos and in Dong, a suburb of the city.

A worship auditorium of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) on Bauchi Road in Jos also was set ablaze by local Muslims on Aug. 15, according to Jos North Local Council officials.

The killings reportedly came in retaliation for an Aug. 14 massacre of 25 Fulani Muslim travelers by youths belonging to the predominantly Christian Irigwe ethnic group along Rukuba Road in Jos North County. Reportedly returning from an annual Islamic New Year (Zikr) prayer event in Bauchi state, the travelers were en route to Ikare, Ondo state when they were intercepted and killed by the Irigwes who were retaliating for the prior killing of their kinsmen by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

The Rev. Polycarp Lubo, chairman of the Plateau State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said church leaders were tired of conducting funerals for members killed on a nearly daily basis in Plateau state.

“We are tired of telling Christians to calm down, take it easy, pray,” Pastor Lubo said. “Christians will be in their houses and still get killed while sleeping; I don’t understand this.”

Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List. In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list.

In this year’s World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 the previous year.

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.

The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.

“In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 added Nigeria to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.

In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated ISWAP, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

Photo: Aug. 28 funeral by Anglican Diocese of Jos for 17 of 33 Christians killed on Aug. 25 in Yelwa Zangam, Plateau state, Nigeria. (Facebook Anglican Diocese of Jos)

Fulani Herdsmen Kill 36 Christians in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Fulani [militants] killed 36 Christians in multiple attacks in Kaduna state, Nigeria this month with impunity, while a church leader complained that authorities arrested only Christians for defending themselves.

The attacks from Aug. 4 to Saturday (Aug. 28) on Zangon Kataf, Kaura and Chikun counties took the lives of 17 Christians in Doh (Mado) village, five in Madamai, eight in Buruku and Udawa, three in Machun and three in Goran Gida, residents said.

The attack on Machun village, Zangon Kataf County, on Thursday (Aug. 26) took place at 7 p.m., said area resident Judith David in a text message to Morning Star News.

“Fulani herdsmen have killed three of our Christians, and five other Christians were also injured,” she said. “It rained at the time the herdsmen invaded our village. We all had already gone to houses to sleep when the herdsmen attacked the village, forcing us to flee into the bush in the rain.”

Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna state commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, confirmed the killings in a press statement.

“Police personnel responded to a distress call from Machun village and mobilized there,” he said. “On arrival, they were also alerted by gunshots from neighboring Manuka. As the assailants fled the area, the operatives found the corpses of three victims.”

The Rev. Jacob Kwashi, Anglican bishop of Zonkwa Diocese, and residents of the affected communities said the assailants were Muslim Fulani herdsmen.

In Doh (Mado) village, Zangon Kataf county on Aug. 22, sources reported 17 Christians were killed.

“My hometown of Doh (Mado) is under attack from Fulani herdsmen,” village resident Patience Bilyock said a text message to Morning Star News. “O God, arise and fight for your children.”

Kwashi, while conducting a funeral service for the 17 Christians killed in the village, said the government was doing nothing as killings continued each day in Middle Belt states.

“We have never seen an evil government in this country like the one of today. The government is fully in support of the bloodshed in Nigeria. We are being killed just because we are not Muslims,” Kwashi said. “These evil Fulani jihadists are enjoying the backing of the government to go about killing people, destroying their houses and farmlands, yet when we try to defend ourselves, the government will go about arresting our people. What kind of justice is this?”

Aruwan, the Kaduna state spokesman, said of the attack on Doh village that the assailants fled on sighting the forces of the Nigerian army. He identified nine of the dead residents as Moses Dangana, Mary Dangana, Jummai Dangana, Jerry James, Happy James, Endurance Stephen, Comfort Emmanuel, Jummai Tanko and Mary Clement.

“One resident, Magdalene Dangoma, sustained gunshot injuries and is receiving treatment in a hospital,” Aruwan said. “Two houses were razed in the attack. The troops of Operation Safe Haven also rescued 12 persons who were fleeing from the attackers. Those rescued are Patrick Chindon, Joseph Agbon, Polymer Joseph, Amos Francis, Keziah Amos, Linda Jonathan, Asabe Jonathan, Jonathan James, Lamin Yohanna, Titi Emmanuel, Patricia Michael and Jetral Bala.”

On Aug. 16, herdsmen attacked Goran Gida village, also in Zangon Kataf county. Aruwan said three residents were killed: Amos Bulus, Bulus Swam and Simon Akut. A resident identified only as Kezia was wounded, and the assailants set a car on fire, he said.

In Madamai village, Kaura County, herdsmen attacked on Aug. 15 at 5 a.m., said area resident Polycarp Bala.

“Five Christians were killed in this attack by Fulani herdsmen,” Bala said.

Aruwan identified those killed as Janet Yakubu, Gambo Yakubu, Jonathan Adamu, Mrs. Monday and Humphrey Barnabas.

In Buruku and Udaw‎a villages in Chikun County on Aug. 13, herdsmen killed eight Christians as they worked on their farms, residents said. Five Christian farmers were killed in Buruku village and three in Udawa village, area resident John Audu said.

“We are tired of the blood being shed on a daily basis here,” Audu said. “We need help.”

On Aug. in Magamiya village, armed herdsmen wounded one Christian.

“Christian by the name of Shedrach Yohanna was shot by the Fulani Herdsmen on his arm,” Maigamiya resident Jude Hassan said in a text message. Aruwan confirmed the attack and injury.

“Troops responded to a distress call, mobilized to the village and engaged the assailants and successfully repelled them,” Aruwan said.

Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List. In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list.

In this year’s World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 the previous year.

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.

The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.

“In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 added Nigeria to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.

In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated ISWAP, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria. —

Please remember our Nigerian brothers and sisters in your prayers.

Modified Photo: Domenico-de-ga at German Wikipedia

Soldiers Complicit in Herdsmen Attacks in Nigeria, Christians Say

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Soldiers and security personnel failed to intervene this month as Fulani herdsmen killed 70 Christians in one area of Plateau state, Nigeria, while in other areas soldiers helped herdsmen destroy farmland, Christian leaders said.

Muslim Fulanis killed 70 Christians, displaced 30,000 others and burned 500 homes in attacks on villages in Miango District, Bassa County the first three weeks of August, according to Davidson Malison, spokesman for the predominantly Christian Irigwe ethnic group.

The Rev. Ronku Aka, another leader of the Irigwe community, said the attacks took place in spite of the presence of forces deployed to the area to protect residents.

“While the Fulani herdsmen were attacking my communities, the soldiers and other security agents were around,” Pastor Aka said in a message to Morning Star News. “As the Fulani invaders were carrying out the attacks, we expected them to confront the invaders and stop the destruction going on, but that did not happen.”

When Pastor Aka questioned the soldiers, they told him that they had not received orders to repel the attackers, he said.

“If the security agents were deployed and allowed to do their job, maybe the Fulani attackers would not have succeeded with their evil plans, and my people would not be suffering what they are experiencing at the moment,” he said.

Malison identified some of the predominantly Christian villages attacked in Miango District this month as Zanwra, Kpatenvie (Jebbu-Miango), Nche-Tahu, Rikwe-Rishe, Ri-Dogo, Nchu-Nzhwa, Kpachudu, Kwall and Tafi-Gana.

“Unceasing tears have continued to roll in our eyes as a nation and people even as this note is penned down,” Malison said. “The terror being unleashed by Fulani herdsmen on Irigwe Christians has continued unabated and without any sign of remorse or regret.”

It is estimated that attacks in the past month have also destroyed 1,000 farms.

The Rev. Dachollom Datiri, president of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), appealed to state and federal governments to provide aid for 30,000 people displaced from 39 Irigwe Christian communities in Bassa County who are now in camps for Internally Displaced Persons in Miango and Kwall.

Security, Soldiers Complicit
Among the predominantly Christian Berom people in Plateau state’s Barkin Ladi, Jos South and Riyom counties, among others, more than 50 Christians have been killed this year, including women and children, and 26 others wounded, according to area leader Elisha Datiri.

The herdsmen have destroyed at least 30 hectares of farmlands in the attacks, sometimes with help from the Nigerian army, Datiri said in a statement to Morning Star News.

“Sadly, this carnage, genocide and wanton destruction of properties are being carried out in the very eyes of the security personnel whom the government spends billions of taxpayers’ money on in their operation to protect lives and properties of all Nigerians,” Datiri said. “In many instances, the military collaborates with the Fulanis to carry out these dastardly acts. The military’s direct participation in the destruction of Christians’ farmlands and properties has at many times generated many petitions, press conferences/releases and in some instances physical demonstrations by the Christian communities demanding the removal of the military.”

The killings and destruction have taken place without any compensation by government at any level, he said.

“There are more than 55 hamlets and villages in Christian communities especially, in Barkin Ladi and Riyom LGAs [Local Government Areas], that are currently under the forceful occupation of the Fulani and in some instances have already been renamed as proof of an unprecedented wave of land grabs,” Datiri said. “There’s a continued onslaught on Christians which is being championed by the Fulanis and aided by the security agencies saddled with the responsibility to protect lives and property.”

Noting that the Fulani herdsmen ranked as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world on the 2018 Global Terrorism Index, Datiri said their attacks are taking place on a near daily basis.

“We wish to note with deep concern the unacceptable plundering of our land under the direct watch of constituted authorities charged with the responsibility of upholding all people’s rights as entrenched in the Nigerian Constitution,” he said.

Herdsmen attacks also took place in June and July, Christian residents said.

Byei village resident Moses Dantong said Fulani militias surrounded his village on July 11 with sophisticated weapons, shooting and seriously wounding his nephew, 38-year-old James Yohanna, in the chest. The previous day, the herdsmen cut down villagers’ crops, he said.

In a June 29 attack on the same village, herdsmen shot dead 21-yearold Patrick Pam, Danton said.

Herdsmen on June 30 attacked the predominantly Christian villages of Tamborong and Gwol-Hoss, in Riyom County, killing two Christians, said community leader John Giwa.

“The two Christian victims, Sunday Dogo and Joshu Usman, were returning from Ganawuri market, and unknown to them the attackers who were armed Fulani herdsman ambushed them,” Giwa told Morning Star News. “Both of them died after being shot. A third victim, Danlami Musa, was with bullet wounds.”

In Gwol-Hoss on June 28, herdsmen killed primary school headmaster Bitrus Manzere, said Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri, a lawyer from the area.

“Bitrus Manzere was hacked death by Fulani herdsmen,” Mwantiri said. “Manzere, 63, was returning home at about 9 p.m. He’s survived by his wife and eight children.”

Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List. In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list.

In this year’s World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 the previous year.

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.

The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.

“In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 added Nigeria to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.

In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated ISWAP, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

Photo: Plateau state, Nigeria. (Uwe Dedering, Wikipedia)

Praying for Christians attacked in Nigeria

5/10/2021 (Voice of the Persecuted) Dear Prayer Warriors, you are invited to join us on Tuesday, May 10 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted Church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Tonight, we will pray for Christians suffering extreme trials in Nigeria.

Nurse Grace Zugwai Nkut, who was abducted in Kaduna state, Nigeria on April 21, 2021 

Read report here

Herdsmen Kill Christians in Nigeria’s Nasarawa, Plateau States.

Read report here

We will continue remember our Brothers and sisters in India. 

We will also Pray for: 

Leah Sharibu and Alice that they will be set free from Boko Haram captivity.

  • Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah. She was the only Christian in the group.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped during the Rann attack on March 1, 2018. She was a nurse working with Unicef and is a mother of two.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison, for his family, the children, and the church in China. 

  • On December 28 the police raided the Early Rain Church and arrested Pastor Wang Yi, his wife Jiang Rong, and ten elders of the well-known 750-member church for holding “illegal” services. Some 100 believers were detained, questioned, and later released. Pastor Wang’s wife was also released. Pastor Wang remained in detention.

Anita, an Iranian Christian, persecuted by the Islamic regime seeking asylum.

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, recently reduced from ten years. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani converted to Christianity at the age of 19 and leads a 400-member house church in Rasht, Iran. Since 2006, Iranian authorities have consistently harassed and detained Pastor Nadarkhani and his family. In 2010, the authorities sentenced him to death for apostasy before acquitting him in 2012. Pastor Nadarkhani was tried again in 2017 on false charges of “acting against national security” and promoting “Zionist Christianity,” for which he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. By July 2018, plainclothes agents raided Pastor Nadarkhani’s home to execute the sentence, beating and apprehending him and using a taser gun on one of his sons. He is now incarcerated at the notorious Evin prison near Tehran.

The harvest 

  • “And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2

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

Time:

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Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

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

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

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 (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.

With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.

Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.

If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

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

Kidnappings Terrorize Christians in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Nurses, pastor’s wife taken, plus mass abduction from one village.

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen in north-central Nigeria kidnapped a pastor’s wife from her home and two nurses from a hospital, while other Islamic extremists may have joined herdsmen in abducting more than 70 people from one village, sources said.

Fulaki Ozigi was kidnapped along with her husband, Mercy Place Ministry Church pastor Ozigi Hassan, and their four children from their home in Kudenda, in Kaduna state’s Chikun County, in the early hours of April 30, police said. Police pursuing the herdsmen into the forest were able to recover the pastor and the children, but the kidnappers escaped with Fulaki Ozigi, police spokesman Mohammed Jalige said.

At a public hospital in Idon, Kajuru County in southern Kaduna state, heavily armed Fulani herdsmen kidnapped two Christian nurses from a public hospital on the night of April 21, leaders of the Fellowship of Christian Nurses said. Cafra Caino, chairman of the Kajuru Local Government Council, identified the two women as Afiniki Bako and Grace Nkut.

A statement from the Fellowship of Christian nurses said they were “were very committed to sharing and living the gospel in their workplace.”

A nurse who escaped the attack, Rifkatu Alfred, said the herdsmen forced their way into the hospital shooting sporadically.

Nurse Afiniki Bako was kidnapped from a rural hospital in Kaduna state, Nigeria on April 21, 2021. (Fellowship of Christian Nurses)

“When they left, they called to say they were the kidnappers who abducted the two nurses, and if they are not given money, they will kill them,” Alfred told Morning Star News by phone, adding that they initially demanded 500 million naira (US$1.3 million) as ransom but later reduced it to 200 million naira (US$522,876).

Area resident Donatus Ayuba and Shingyu Shamnom, medical director of the hospital, concurred in separate messages to Morning Star News that the kidnappers were armed Fulani herdsmen.

Ishaku Yakubu, chairman of the National Association of Nurses and Midwives of Nigeria, Kaduna State Chapter, said the two nurses were serving the rural poor.

“We’re not safe, and health facilities in the state are no longer secured,” Yakubu said. “Beside the kidnapping of these two, five others were kidnapped before.”

Nurse Grace Zugwai Nkut was abducted in Kaduna state, Nigeria on April 21, 2021. (Fellowship of Christian Nurses)

Under Siege

In Libera Gida village, Kajuru County, militants from the Islamic extremist Boko Haram are suspected alongside herdsmen of kidnapping 72 residents on April 22, sources said.

Villagers counted 72 people missing after the late-night attack, 56 females and 16 males, according to a statement from Luka Binniyat, spokesman of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU). The kidnappers called their families on April 29 saying they had 77 Christians in captivity – with the additional five possibly coming from other raids – and that they would be killed if 350 million naira (US$915,033) were not paid, Binniyat said.

The Kaduna state government failed to make any mention of the mass abduction in its regular updates on security in the state, he said.

“Meanwhile, after unceasing siege on Christian farming communities in Kajuru LGA, more Christian communities have fallen under the control of these armed men, which we now suspect to be a coalition of armed herdsmen and Boko Haram,” Binniyat said.

The number of communities captured by armed herdsmen in Kajuru County is now 31, and throughout southern Kaduna state they have taken no fewer than 100 communities, he said.

The Rev. Solomon Tafida, senior pastor of Salvation Baptist Church, Kaduna, estimated there are 4,000 Christians held captive in Kaduna state by either herdsmen or Boko Haram.

“Most of the Christian victims who escaped from the camps of the herdsmen say there are over 4,000 Christians being held in captive camps in forests along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, near Rijana village,” he said.

The Kaduna state government’s quarterly security report stated that a total of 323 persons were killed and 949 others kidnapped by bandits in three months across the state.

“Deaths linked to banditry, violent attacks, communal clashes and reprisals in the first quarter total 323 across the state,” said Samuel Aruwan, commissioner for internal security and home affairs, who released the report on April 30. “Of these, 20 were women and 11 were minors.”

Nigeria led the world in number of kidnapped Christians last year with 990, according to Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List report. In the 2021 list of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 the previous year.

In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list. Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to the report.

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.

The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.

“In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 added Nigeria to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.

In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated ISWAP, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

Herdsmen Kill Christians in Nigeria’s Nasarawa, Plateau States

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed 12 Christians in Nasarawa state and three others in Plateau state the last part of April, sources said.

In north-central Nigeria’s Nasarawa state, herdsmen killed 12 Christian farmers in Ajimaka, Doma County, in attacks there and in 13 other villages from April 24 until April 29, area leader Barnabas Zayol told Morning Star News. The attacks displaced tens of thousands of people, Christian leaders said.

A survivor of the attack on Ajikama village, Terlumun Tsekaa, said the herdsmen arrived at about 2 a.m. on April 24 with guns and machetes and killed his wife, who was seven months pregnant, and 3-year-old child.

“There were more than 30 of these herdsmen who attacked us, and they were shouting ‘Allah akbar [Allah is greater]’ as they shot at us and burned our houses,” Tsekaa told Morning Star News. “They set fire on all houses in the village. They also killed a whole family of five members.”

In Doma County, the herdsmen also attacked Dooshima, Antsa, Dooka, Angwan Yara, Ikyayior, Targema, Tse Tor, Chia, Umurayi, Dooga, Gindan Rail and Ankoma villages; in Keana County, they attacked Ategher, Avewua, Ugbele Aondokaa, Ikper, Gborgyo and Uluwa Kwananke villages, Zayol said.

“They burned down houses and killed indiscriminately anyone they sighted,” Zayol said. “Those killed during the attacks include children and pregnant women.”

Victims were members of Universal Reformed Christian Church (NKST in Nigeria), Roman Catholic, Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ (ERCC) and Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) churches, he said. He identified those slain as Tsekaa Chiatyo, Kwaghdoo Tsekaa, Sewuese Tsekaa, Bobo Chiatyo, Aondosee Fidelis, Aboy, Igba Aduku, Iwueseter, Aseer, Kasehumba, William Katu and Aondowase Agbu.

Citing nine dead, police confirmed the attacks and said personnel were sent to the area. Ramhan Nansel, spokesman for the Nasarawa State Police Command, said in a statement that officers received report of the attack on Ajimaka at about 6 a.m. on April 24.

“Upon receipt of the information, a joint team of police and military personnel were deployed to the scene, where nine corpses were recovered, each with multiple machete cuts,” Nansel said.

Nasarawa Gov. Abdullahi Sule issued a statement through his chief press secretary, Ibrahim Addra.

“An attack that does not spare women and children bears the trademark of devilish elements who are bent on truncating the relative peace in the state,” he said. “A thorough investigations by security operatives have since commenced in order to expose the criminals and punish them according to the laws of the land. My condolences and prayers are with families of those who lost their lives.

“I urge them and the rest of our citizens to be assured that this administration will do all within its power to ensure justice, peace and security across the state.”

Attack on Funeral in Plateau State

In neighboring Plateau state on April 25, Fulani herdsmen killed one Christian and wounded another in Miango, Bassa County, an area resident said.

“Danlami Musa, 21, was killed, while Friday Musa, 19, his brother, was injured during the attack at about 7 p.m. at the twins hills, Miango,” Patience Moses said. “Please keep praying for God’s intervention on our behalf.”

On the same day in Bokkos County, herdsmen killed Christian community leader Yakubu Dadel in Jwanshak village in an attack on a funeral service at about 8:30 p.m., his son said.

Ayuba Dadel said his father was killed as other villagers scampered into nearby bushes.

“We were holding a funeral service when the Fulani gunmen came shooting sporadically, and everyone scampered for safety,” Dadel said in a text message to Morning Star News. “My father was in his house and only ran out to lock his gate. When they sighted him, they chased after him with serious gunfire. They first injured him on the hand, and when he ran to his bedroom, they followed him, dragged him to the ground from his bed and shot him point blank.”

Also in Bokkos County, Fulani herdsmen attacked Daffo village on April 20, killing Christian resident Iliya Mutong, villagers said.

“Iliya Mutong was cut with machetes until he died at about 8 p.m.,” Kyanan Mizhim said in a text message to Morning Star News. “He was sitting in front of his house when a group of Fulani herdsmen attacked him.”

In Jos South County on April 9, Fulani herdsmen were suspected in the killing of eight Christian miners at Shawalan mining site, near Kuru village. Emmanuel Jang, a Jos South council official, said their bodies were retrieved from the site and a funeral was held for them.

“They were all members of the Church of Christ in Nations,” Jang said in a text message to Morning Star News.

On March 13 in Barkin Ladi County, high school student David James, 18, was killed by Fulani herdsmen in Dorowa Babuje village, his father said. Solomon James, 68, said in a text message to Morning Star News that his son was killed in their home shortly before 8 p.m.

Community leader John Choji confirmed the killing of James.

“Our community has been under siege of armed Fulani herdsmen for a number of years now,” Choji said.

In the Dutse area of Miango on Feb. 1, a band of herdsmen killed twelve Christian farmers as they worked their fields, according to Edward Egbuka, Plateau state commissioner of police.

World Leader in Christians Killed

Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to Open Door’s 2021 World Watch List report.

In the 2021 list of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 the previous year. In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list.

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.

The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.

“In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 added Nigeria to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.

In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated ISWAP, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

Photo: Nasarawa state, Nigeria. (Creative Commons)

‘Bring back our 112 Chibok girls – now and alive!’ Demands for closure and disclosure 7 years on

Pictures of 82 girls freed in 2017; 112 are still un-accounted for
 

(World Watch Monitor) ‘I’m Chibok girl Dad. Bring Back Our Girls Now’ read the white letters on the man’s red T-shirt.

The same morning, 15 April seven years ago, he woke to hear his daughter had been abducted from her school dormitory at night. He’s not seen her since, has no idea if she is alive or dead. But amidst his anguish he pleads “Our people are being killed on weekly basis”.

This came on the 7th anniversary of the kidnap of 276 girls, even as global news headlined an attack on a humanitarian hub in the same state from which the schoolgirls disappeared into the Sambisa Forest on the night of April 14th 2014. 112 of them remain un-accounted for.

The dad pleaded ‘Even if our girls remain in the Forest, how has the government abandoned us? Why can’t it secure their parents and brothers? I appeal to [Borno] Governor Zulum…to bring peace to our land”. (There have been three attacks this week in the Borno town of Damasak, 200 miles north of Chibok, on the border with neighbouring Niger – this time by the Islamic State, West Africa Province (ISWAP), which has splintered away from Boko Haram.

Other figures from Chibok echoed his plea “If Nigeria does not rescue our Chibok girls, there’ll be no peace in Nigeria. Boko Haram is increasing in many ways. No amount of intimidation will stop us demanding your [the girls’] rights” said one into the camera. Asked what she would say to her daughter Sarah in case she might be watching, Mrs Samuel said ‘Keep hope alive; we wait for you’.

Sarah will soon turn 25, so was kidnapped at the age of 17. Mrs Samuel also apparently shocked her audience by saying she had not heard anything from the government since the release of 82 of the girls in May 2017.

During the Zoom event, the founder of Citizens’ Hub, Aisha Muhammad Yesufu also boldly challenged the Nigerian government:

“What is the crime of a Chibok girl? Is it that she’s a girl? Is it that she’s Nigerian? Is it that she’s poor?”

Event speakers all said they struggle to understand why recent mass school kidnaps (there have been at least three this year alone) have seen those children freed almost the very next day.

They point to initial denials and incredulity by the state and federal authorities; indeed the President at the time of the 2014 mass abduction, Goodluck Jonathan, eventually ordered an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the mass kidnap because his government denied the incident had even happened for the first two weeks. The inquiry, led by retired Army-Gen. Ibrahim Sabo submitted its report on 20 June, 2014 but it has never been published and nothing has been heard of it since, according to one of the speakers.

Hence the slogan for this week’s event: “Bring Back our Girls- now and alive! Disclosure and closure” – disclosure of the Sabo report and closure for the abducted girls, their parents and communities.

Attendees heard that twenty parents have now died before seeing their daughters – again, most of them from high blood pressure or other stress-related medical conditions.

Seven years ago, a report showed how the Chibok girls’ kidnap appeared to be part of the Islamist group’s strategic approach to destroy the Christian community in N. Nigeria, where in some states, Christians still form a significant minority.

Keynote speaker, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, who retired a year ago from his role as Catholic Archbishop of the capital Abuja, said that the failure of President Buhari to fulfil his promise to defeat Boko Haram ‘by December 2015’ showed ‘graduating incompetence’. He pointed out that the Nigerian army has claimed to have killed the group’s leader Shekau at least four times. He also said that Chibok had led to kidnapping becoming an industry in Nigeria. He also compared the fact that 42 people – teachers and boys – kidnapped in Niger state had been found and freed after ten days, on 27 Feb this year, while one lone Christian girl Leah Sharibu remains in captivity more than three years after abduction, together with UNICEF nurse Alice Loksha, who was kidnapped in October 2018.

Aid groups estimate that more than eight million people in the north-east are in urgent of humanitarian assistance as a result of the 10-year Islamist insurgency.

Church Confirms Release of Pastor Threatened with Execution

Pastor Bulus Yakura with EYN member Kwajaffa Balamusa (left) after the pastor’s release from Islamic extremist militants. (Morning Star News courtesy of Kwajaffa Balamusa)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Church leaders have confirmed reports that Islamic terrorists who threatened to execute a pastor they abducted in northeast Nigeria freed him on Wednesday (March 3).

The president of the Church of Brethren in Nigeria (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, or EYN), Joel S. Billi, told church leaders on Thursday (March 4) that he had spoken to Pastor Bulus Yakura (also transliterated as Bulus Yikura) after he was freed, according to a notice posted on Friday (March 5) on the website of the Church of the Brethren’s U.S. headquarters by Zakariya Musa, head of EYN Media.

“Speaking to Yakura over the telephone today was heart-touching,” Billi said, adding that Pastor Yakura told him, “I am fine, thank you for your prayers and concern,” according to Musa.

Nigerian newspaper the Premium Times had reported that Pastor Yakura, an EYN pastor abducted from Pemi village near Chibok, Borno state in an Islamic terrorist attack on Christmas Eve, was freed after Christians met ransom demands.

Citing security sources, the newspaper reported that Islamic insurgent group Boko Haram freed Pastor Yakura on Wednesday evening (March 3). A Premium Times correspondent in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, reported sighting Pastor Yakura at about 6:15 p.m. as he was taken to the office of Nigeria’s intelligence agency, the Department of State Services (DSS).

The Abubakar Shekau-led faction of Boko Haram, which in 2015 formally aligned with the Islamic State and changed its name to Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), released a video on Feb. 25 in which the pastor said he would be executed by March 3 unless government and church officials met the kidnappers’ demands.

After watching the video in which the pastor had announced the deadline for his execution, his wife had fallen ill and his children refused to go to school, Musa reported.

An EYN church member, Kwajaffa Balamusa, also confirmed the release of Pastor Yakura in a text message to Morning Star News on Sunday (March 7), accompanied by a photo of him and the pastor after his release.

“Thank God, for our EYN pastor is alive,” Balamusa said.

The Premium Times reported that on Wednesday (March 3), when asked to speak about his freedom, Pastor Yakura kept repeating, “I thank God, I thank God.”

The Islamic State recognizes the ISWAP faction that broke away from Shekau in 2016 as its cell in the region, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and many Nigerians still refer to the Shekau-led faction of ISWAP by its original name, Boko Haram.

Efforts by the EYN and Pastor Yakura’s family resulted in his release, according to the newspaper.

Premium Times gathered from security sources that family members and the EYN church had been negotiating the release of the abducted pastor since last week,” the newspaper reported on Wednesday (March 3).

Prior to his release, Nigerian newspaper Sahara Reporters had reported that the Christian community in Borno state’s Chibok County had contributed money for ransom in order to secure the pastor’s release.

Pattern of Executions

In a video released on July 22, Islamic extremists thought to be members of ISWAP 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.”

On Jan. 20, 2020, Islamic terrorists executed the Rev. Lawan Andimi, district chairman of the EYN in Michika County, Adamawa state, also in northeast Nigeria.

A video released in January 2020 shows ISWAP terrorists executing Christian university student Ropvil Daciya Dalep, a member of the Church of Christ in Nations who was kidnapped on the Damaturu-Maiduguri Highway while returning to studies in Maiduguri, Borno state.

Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List. In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list.

Nigeria led the world in number of kidnapped Christians last year with 990, according to the WWL report. In the 2021 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 the previous year.

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 added Nigeria to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.

In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated ISWAP, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”

 

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