What began as a soccer match at Baba Tanko Secondary School, ended in violence and the death of Charity Augustine Agbo, a Christian woman and mother of 5. Inter-religious violence broke out last Thursday at the high school soccer game at the school. The fighting spread to other parts of the city with other Muslims reportedly joining Muslim students from the school, attacking Christians and setting their homes ablaze.
Nigerian soldiers were summoned to restore calm following the outbreak. Agbo’s husband, Augustine, was reported as saying that “three soldiers arrived in a Hilux vehicle with its siren blaring, forcing us to run into our houses. When we all ran inside, we saw these three soldiers coming to our house; then we locked the outside gate, but the soldiers followed us and broke the glass door and forced the door open and shot my wife twice on the chest.” Agbo reported the shooting to the Army commander in Bauchi, and his soldiers later came to his house to take his wife to an area clinic owned by the Church of Christ in Nigeria. Later, her situation worsening, Augustine took her to the ATBU Teaching Hospital, where she later died.
“There was not any justifiable reason for the soldiers to have shot the woman,” said the Rev. Lawi Pokti, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bauchi State. A Christian boy, unrelated to Agbo, was also shot during the melee and was originally reported dead. Later reports confirm that he was taken to a hospital and resuscitated. The circumstances surrounding his shooting are unknown.
For more than a decade, Christians in Bauchi state have been under pressure from Muslim extremists who have destroyed Christian worship places and killed Christians, said Pokti of CAN. Earlier this year, the Rev. Ishaku Kadah and his wife were abducted and killed, as was Pastor Irimiya Maigida. “I want to make it categorically clear,” Pokti reiterated, “that enough is enough, because despite the fact that the Christian community has constantly remained peaceful, it has become a target for these extremist Muslims even when there is peace.”
Pokti faulted the government for being slow to prosecute Muslim extremists. “Because of lack of pro-active measures by the government to ensure peace in Christian areas in the state, Christians are being killed by Muslim extremists, and none of them has been brought to book,” he said. “The lukewarm attitude of the Nigerian government to problems of persecution facing Christians has made it easy for Muslim extremists to attack Christians and get away with such crimes.”
Father of all comfort we lift up to You Charity Agbo’s husband, Augustine, and their 5 children; soothe their hearts; make Your presence clear to them. Cover them and other Christians in the area with Your protection. In the midst of their persecution grow in them perseverance and long suffering so that their neighbors might increasingly see You lived out in their lives. May the peace of Christ bring true peace and justice to this place. In the Name of Christ through whom all things live and move and have their being, Amen.
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