‘They were ages 3 to 18’—7 young Christians killed by Boko Haram suicide bomber

August 12, 2020 by Lindy Lowry in Uncategorized

The scene was horrific. While the residents of the village of Nguetchewe in Cameroon’s far north region slept, Boko Haram militants attacked their community at approximately 11 pm on Saturday, Aug. 1—sending in two suicide bombers, one of whom was a young girl.

 

By the time she and another bomber had detonated the explosives they wore, more than 28 lives were lost, including a reported seven young Christians between the ages of 3 and 18. The attack continued into the next morning, forcing some 1,500 people to flee to the nearby town of Mozogo for safety.

Reportedly, the Nguetchewe Catholic Mission was Boko Haram’s target. In a phone call, a church leader in Nguetchewe told Open Doors: “I was at home when they came. We heard gunshots and then shouts from the vigilante committee alerting us. So we fled … When they got in, they first fired shots (randomly), and then people started running.”

Some of the women and children gathered to hide in the area where millet is beaten, the church leader said. That’s when the young girl came into the area saying her stomach hurt. The group let her in, completely unaware she was carrying a bomb.

“They were duped,” the church leader said. “She detonated the bomb and killed many people. It seems another suicide bomber targeted another group of people.”

At least seven of the victims were Christians. “We got reports that one other member who was injured and was taken to hospital has passed away, but I am still to confirm,” the church leader said. “For now, it’s clear that all in this group of victims were between the ages of 3 and 18, and included both boys and girls.”

Further details about the bombers, including their origins, are unknown though reports in recent years indicate that Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands of children. Last year, the UN recently stated that since 2009, an estimated 8,000 children have been abducted by Boko Haram. And according to a UNICEF report, at least 117 of these children have been used as suicide bombers since 2017—and more than 80 percent of them are girls.

Stand with them

Christians in Nigeria and countries along its borders are suffering both from attacks and the food crisis caused by COVID-19 and the quarantines. If God has put it on your heart to help your Christian family in West Africa through emergency relief, discipleship training, support, trauma counseling and much more—you can give today and make a difference.

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87 Boko Haram attacks this year

The attack follows a significant rise in violent incidents in Cameroon’s far north region in July, including looting and kidnapping by Boko Haram and other armed groups active in the region. Reportedly, more than 320,000 internally displaced persons and 115,000 Nigerian refugees currently live in the region, tucked between Nigeria’s Borno and Adamawa states and Lake Chad.

Cameroon’s government has recorded 87 Boko Haram attacks in areas along the Nigerian border so far this year. According to the UNHCR, these attacks have severely affected the more than 300,000 internally displaced people and 115,000 Nigerian refugees. Violence in the wider Lake Chad basin region has forced more than 3 million people to flee; 2.7 million are internally displaced in northeast Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Christians remain one of Boko Haram’s preferred targets, an Open Doors spokesperson says. “In the end, the destruction and fear the group causes force those in the area (both Christian and Muslim) to either submit to them or leave.”

Against the background of growing insecurity along the Nigerian border, there is a growing necessity for enhanced community protection, shelter, water and sanitation as the country responds to conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

representative images used

Pray with us for the church in West Africa

  • Please pray for all who are trying to come to terms with the losses they suffered in this brutal attack. Pray that God will remind Christians their loved ones are now with Jesus.
  • Ask God to strengthen and encourage the Nguetchewe community in the midst of this situation.
  • Pray for church leaders’ wisdom as they minister in these circumstances.
  • Pray for the young children who are often Boko Haram targets for kidnapping, forced labor and even suicide missions. Pray that God gives them the freedom to follow Jesus, receive an education and to experience the safety and security that so many of us have daily, here.
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