05 20 Newsflashes from the Persecuted Church
Cameroon: Pressure Increasing on Christians, including from an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria
“There are no Christians anymore in Gorea (Cameroon). The light of the gospel of Jesus Christ is quenched in that village,” Pastor Leon Badoka (not his real name) told Open Doors workers with tears in his eyes. “It is a spiritual war that Christians should have won, but now some of the Christians have betrayed us and joined our persecutors. The church in Gorea will probably be transformed into a mosque. This is the result of a determined process to eradicate Christianity in the area. The same is happening in other villages across the north of Cameroon.”
Open Doors reported earlier how Muslims have intimidated Christians in Gorea, sending anonymous written threats to kill them and burn down their churches. Shortly thereafter, in April 2013, youngsters set the church ablaze and scattered the Christians. A few weeks later some of the Christians returned. But now it seems that the pressure has simply become too much. Many of them, including two church officials, have followed the example of an elder who rejected Christ to embrace Islam last year.
The sad events are a classic example of the pressures Christians have been experiencing because of their allegiance to Christ in northern Cameroon. The country is not on Open Doors’ 2014 World Watch List, but is listed among the “Persecution Watch Countries.” Although Christians compose 54 percent of the population and are spread across Cameroon, Muslims dominate in the North, East and West and they are placing Christians under heavy pressure.
The area has become a safe haven for the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, bringing with it a number of violent incidents to the region. Since the beginning of the year, there have been several shootouts between Boko Haram and Cameroon security in border regions. It is also speculated that the insurgents have brought at least some of the more than 200 girls abducted in mid-April from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria into Cameroon.
A local pastor said: “Christians here live in terror. At night we don’t know what might happen. I’m worried about my family and the churches in the area. In some villages Christianity has completely disappeared. We have the impression of being abandoned.”
In addition to the violence, Christians have been facing great social pressure and marginalization.
An Open Doors worker explains, “Muslims have great economic power. They control the very strong fishing trade and dominate cattle rearing and agriculture. They use this power to support one another and to prevent people from leaving Islam. In contrast, the Christians are generally quite poor. Over the past few years we have seen Muslims use their economic strength to intimidate Christians and lure some of them into Islam.”
Due to the increasing persecution, Open Doors’ ministry with Christians in northern Cameroon has grown. Open Doors is seeking to help the Church to withstand these pressures by being better prepared for persecution and equipped for cross cultural evangelism and proper discipleship of believers. Through Open Doors’ holistic ministry training and community development projects, it is helping Christians explore innovative ways to grow stronger economically.
Nigeria: Pastor Says Many Nigerians Don’t Trust Military – World Watch Monitor https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2014/_05/article_3145639.html/
New claims that parts of the Nigerian government share the anti-Christian convictions of Boko Haram have emerged since the group’s abduction of hundreds of school girls. Most are Christians and are still missing, over one month after the incident.
“Many Nigerians will tell you that they don’t trust the military. Some of the military and police have sympathies with Boko Haram,” said Samuel Dali, pastor and president of the EYN Church of the Brethren in Mubi. “Most of the police are Muslim and some of them are sympathizers with the insurgents.”
Dali said many of the parents are “disappointed in the government and wondering if they will ever get these girls back,” especially since they have not received any consultation and claim to be treated as if the abduction never happened. One exception was a visit from the Governor of Borno State immediately afterward.
Though rumors of an imminent attack ran through Chibok village before the April 14 kidnappings, Dali said government complicity with Boko Haram is the reason why little military resistance was offered. He said he understands the seriousness of his allegations, but said it’s a reality because Boko Haram has “infiltrated all of the cabinets of the government.”
Instead, Dali said, parents are putting their hopes in international assistance. “The news of the international community coming has also raised their hopes, and they believe that justice will be found through the international community,” he said.
Sharon Ikeazor, a representative of the Nigerian opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, visited London last week asking for help.
“It’s been an agonizing 30 days,” she told the BBC. “The first 10 days were critical. They (the government) could have gotten the girls back. To us, if after 30 days they haven’t gotten them back, we sense that the government is overwhelmed.”
Nigeria: Another Attack Kills Four in Kano
A suicide bomb blast on Sunday in the Christian dominated Sabon Gari district of Kano, northern Nigeria, has killed four people, according to Open Doors. Witnesses say that the explosion was caused by a bomb in a car. The blast could be heard from several miles away. The suspicion is Boko Haram was behind the attack. Kano is the largest city in the mainly Muslim north.
Please pray for God’s comfort for the families of the three men and 12-year-old girl killed in the attack. The suicide bomber was also killed in the attack. Seven people were wounded. On Monday morning, police “averted what could have been another devastating bomb blast in the ancient city of Kano,” according to national police spokesman Frank Mba.
There is a concerted effort to destroy the testimony of Christ in northern Nigeria. Pray that our brothers and sisters in Nigeria will experience God’s peace and courage. Pray for wisdom for Church leaders as they minister to God’s people under dangerous circumstances.
The Associated Press places the number of civilians killed at 1,500 in attacks in Nigeria so far this year. Nigeria is ranked No. 14 on the Open Doors’ 2014 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians.