Only a few days after suspected militant Fulani herdsmen razed a dozen villages surrounding Jos in Nigeria’s Plateau state, killed more than 200 Christians, and displaced more than 3,000 (we don’t have exact numbers at this stage), victims of the Nigeria attacks are getting critical relief and support.
Due to the insecurity of the area, people have been left unattended by aid organizations. However, some local churches have stepped in to set up informal camps for internally displaced people in the Heipen area. Open Doors is present, on the ground, partnering with these indigenous churches to bring aid. Below, an Open Doors worker describes what she found when she first visited these camps.
“The displaced Christians were in a pathetic situation,” Open Doors worker Kerrie* said. “Life has become a living hell for them. They have lost loved ones, houses, and all they labored for in the twinkling of an eye. The agony they are going through is hard to describe. We saw people who were still in a haze over what they have just gone through. Children were crying hysterically, perhaps because of hunger or perhaps because of hunger and the trauma.”
Seeing these difficult circumstances, the Open Doors team returned the next day with relief support (rice, maize, oil, tomato paste and toiletries) to the more than 3,000 people displaced in the two camps.
“When they saw the van, they shouted for joy. Some just burst into tears,” she reported. “Immediately, the women in the camps started cooking for the families and sharing the food among them.”
Mary Dun, whose village in the local government area of Barkin Ladi was attacked, shared a message and a prayer–thanking everyone who has brought help.
“Greetings to you all! My name is Mary Dung from Swe, Barkin Ladi. I want to thank God for what happened for us. We never believed that God will keep us alive to see today. I thank God that some of us could escape, and we have now found ourselves here in this camp. I want to thank you Open Doors. I remembered a day ago you came and visited us to see the situation we are in. We told you that there is severe hunger, no shelter and no clothing. Everything was destroyed, and in the camp, there is no food to eat.
“But we thank God for using Open Doors to bring help to us. In just an interval of a day, you responded to our cry. Even the government has not done what you did to us. You have brought food items and toiletries for us. We are indeed grateful.
“My prayer is this: Wherever these resources are coming from, may God pay you back a thousand-fold, and may He renew your strength. We plead that believers all over the world will pray that God will bring an end to all these killings because we have become homeless, fatherless and orphaned due to the attacks.
“I believe that God in Heaven will take care of us, and He will surely see us through because He is aware of everything … May God continue to bless and protect all those who have sent this support to us. Thank you!”
Pastors caring for the displaced in the two sites also shared their gratitude and shed light on the situtation.
“We sincerely appreciate you for the kind gesture that you have shown unto us as we count our brothers and sisters who have been displaced in this region,” said Reverend Davu Gyang. “In this area, we have two different camps, one in Local Church Council, Ban; and the other one here in Heipan. Presently, the people we have here are about 2,257 displaced people.
“So really, your coming and your assistance will help us earnestly to take care of these people. We appreciate our brothers and sisters. May the Lord continue to bless and protect the life of people and Christendom in our country and our state and in our local government [areas]. Thank you very much for this time.”
Reverend Datung is caring for the displaced in the second site: “We want to appreciate you for coming to this place to give us these donations. Honestly, these people here, they are all internally displaced. They are about 769 in number.
“We are so grateful for everything we have seen here, and our prayer is that God will bless you. But the unfortunate thing is that till now some people are still missing. We are praying and hoping that we will find them. Because when they were displaced, some left for Boccos and other areas. So, we don’t know where they are. Some of them, maybe they are corpses. We don’t know where they are.
“But our prayer is that the Lord bless you for what you have come here to do. Thank you.”
Thank you for giving generously to relief projects like these. Please continue to pray with believers in Nigeria’s Middle Belt who continue to face deadly violence, destruction and displacement. Our team in Nigeria asks us to pray specifically:
- Please pray for peace in Plateau state and the entire Middle Belt and country.
- Pray for Gods intervention in the lives of internally displaced people. They need more food, shelter and clothing.
- Pray for the Lord’s working in their lives so that they will not be poisoned by hatred. Many are obviously deeply hurt and are battling anger and resentment toward their persecutors.
- Please pray for wisdom and urgency for the government to address this violence.
- Seventeen people have been arrested. Pray for proper legal process and that justice will be served. #peace4Nigeria
*pseudonym used for security