Bloodbath in Nigeria

March 20, 2013 by Open Doors in General


On March 18, a series of explosions rocked a luxury bus terminal in the Christian-dominated Sabon Gani district of Kano. Although initial media reports indicated that around 20 people died, it is now feared that the bombs may have killed or injured more than 60 people.

The bombing is the latest incident highlighting the escalating insecurity and lawlessness in Northern Nigeria that is stretching Open Doors’ capacity. While many northerners bemoan the Nigerian government’s inability to handle the situation, Open Doors’ work in the country faces immense pressure as it responds to continued violence against Christians.

Saturday, March 16, the newly emerged Islamic sect Ansaru Islam announced that it has killed the seven foreign hostages the group kidnapped in Bauchi a month ago. The group issued a statement in Arabic and English on an affiliate of the Sinam al-Islam network, accompanied by screen shots of a video, purportedly showing the dead hostages. “The Nigeria and British government (rescue) operation led to the death of all seven Christian foreigners,” the statement claimed. Although Nigerian authorities say they were unable to confirm the deaths, it is understood that the countries of the victims have pronounced them dead.

On March 10, gunmen launched attacks in the Hotoro, Sharada and Dakata areas of Kano, northwest Nigeria, killing three and injuring several others as they returned home from Sunday evening service. Witnesses reported widespread fear and panic following the gunshots. Joint Task Force spokesman, Captain Ikedichi Iweha, said they have arrested four of the attackers who sped off after the assault.

The following day, Christian leaders in Tudun Wada, Kano state, gathered at the site where their church was destroyed in 2007 to discuss rebuilding plans. During their visit, they were confronted and threatened by Muslim youths who vowed to never allow the rebuilding of another church in Tudun Wada. The leaders who attempted to report the incident were prevented from entering the premises of the government office in charge of complaints. The leaders called Open Doors to ask for prayer for the situation.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) urged authorities to investigate the gruesome killing of 13 factory workers identified as Christians on Feb. 22. Suspected Boko Haram militants massacred factory workers at their living quarters in Sharada Phase 3 of Kano. According to sources, the Muslims confronted the Christians about the reason they were not attending Muslim evening prayers. When the workers replied that they were Christians, they were told to step aside from their families. In clear sight of the women and children, the 12 men were shot dead. A 13th man, who had been hiding, came out when the attackers threatened to kill the women and children if he did not show himself. When he emerged, he too was killed.

Father, month after month we hear about more attacks on Christians in northern Nigeria. We are overwhelmed by the fear that must pervade this region. We lift up the families of those who have died, standing firm in their faith in Christ. Cause Your comfort and peace to embrace them in their sorrow. We pray for calm amid the chaos, and for Your courage and wisdom to strengthen church leaders as they face the future and guide the churches in responding in ways that honor You. We pray for more effective and decisive law enforcement, and for justice to be served. Father, quicken us to respond in faithful, continued prayer for Christians in northern Nigeria, not lulled into complacency because requests are frequent and ongoing; rather increase our zeal to pray. In the name of Jesus our only true hope, Amen.

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