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Death Toll Soars In Northern Nigeria

January 11, 2012 by Open Doors in

SANTA ANA, Calif. (Jan. 9, 2012) – The number of Christians killed in an Islamic extremist attack in Gombe, Nigeria, on Jan. 5  has risen to nine. Also, over the weekend Boko Haraman extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria extremists killed at least 21 Christians in neighboring Adamawa state, sources told Compass Direct News.

Members of the Boko Haram group that seeks to impose Sharia (Islamic law) on Nigeria emerged from a mosque near the Deeper Life Bible Church in the Boso area of Gombe, capital of Gombe state, at about 7:30 p.m. and shot Christians attending a weekly meeting known as “The Hour of Revival,” area sources said.

Silas Ugboeze, who was in coma for three days at the Federal Medical Centre in Gombe, died 20 minutes after Compass arrived on Jan. 7, bringing the death toll to nine and the list of those wounded in the attack to 19.

Ugboeze’s son Gideon was also killed, and his 12-year-old daughter, Victoria Silas Ugboeze, was wounded. So far she has survived along with her brother Daniel, who was also shot. Ugboeze’s widow was overcome with grief at the hospital, able to say only, “Lord, where are you? This burden is too much for me to bear.”

Of the nine killed, five died instantly and four died later at the hospital. About 45 people were present at the service when it was attacked, said the church’s 43-year-old pastor, Sunday Okoli.

Dr. Carl Moeller, Open Doors USA President/CEO, says: “The goal of Boko Haram is to spread Sharia Law throughout the country. There are now 12 states in northern Nigeria which have Sharia Law in place. The other goal of Boko Harma is destabilizing the country….spreading fear throughout Nigeria.

“Nigeria is so important to the spread of Christianity throughout Africa. Please pray with me for the Christians in Nigeria and to give wisdom to President Goodluck Jonathan in dealing with the attacks and instability.”

Weekend Killings

Boko Haram had published an ultimatum in a newspaper on Jan. 3 threatening violence if Christians did not leave predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria in three days. Since then, the group has reportedly claimed responsibility for killing at least 44 people in four states, according to Compass.

Christians in Adamawa state came under attack by Boko Haram, which in the Hausa language means “Western education is sacrilege,” over the weekend. On Friday night Jan. 6, 11 people were killed and many others injured at the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) in the Nasarawa area of Yola, the state capital.

“There was blood all over the church hall – it was a very sorry sight,” Adamawa journalist Barnabas Manyan told Compass.

Earlier on Friday, 12 persons were reportedly killed when armed men claimed by Boko Haram shot a gathering of Christian traders holding a prayer session before opening their shops in Mubi, Adamawa. The gunmen also shot at another group of Christians meeting at a town hall to arrange for the transportation of relatives slain the previous day, bringing the total of those killed in Mubi to 21.

Also on Jan. 7, Boko Haram members reportedly killed two Christian students of the University of Maiduguri, in Maiduguri, Borno state.

Nigeria is ranked No. 13 on the Open Doors World Watch List of 50 countries which are the worst persecutors of Christians. According to World Watch List, Nigeria had at least 300 martyrs in 2011, although the actual number could be doubled or tripled. That number is the most in any country although North Korea could have had more but information is hard to obtain due to the isolation of the communist state.

An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world’s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.

(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email [email protected].)

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