July 14, 2015 by Janelle P

God has protected a congregation of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Jos, Nigeria, from destruction when a security guard discovered and then safely disposed of an improvised explosive device (IED) on Sunday. Bomb squad members later discovered a second IED and safely disarmed it.

An Open Doors source reported: “A security guard at the church found a polythene bag close to the choir area in the church and determined it was suspicious. He immediately removed the bag and threw it over the fence where it exploded without injuring anyone. Afterwards the bomb squad arrived and found another bomb hidden in a bag in the church. They were able to remove it safely.

“We thank God for His grace. Had those bombs not been discovered, the destruction would have been severe. This is a big testimony for which we thank the Lord. It is also a very poignant reminder of the importance of continued prayer for the Lord’s protection over his children in Nigeria,” concluded the source.

It was not immediately clear who the perpetrators of the failed attack are, but it is assumed that the terrorist group Boko Haram is behind it. Boko Haram claimed the lives of at least 34 people during the second half of last week in several attacks in Chad, Nigeria and Niger.

Chibok Girls Report

Meanwhile, it was reported that fresh negotiations have started with Boko Haram for the release of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped April 2014. Fred Eno, a human rights activist who is said to have been involved in negotiations for the release of the Chibok girls last year but not the current talks, told media other people had resumed contact with the Islamist group independently of the government. He did not say who they were.

A spokesman for the Nigerian presidency said it had no knowledge of the talks and was not trying to reach out to Boko Haram, although it has previously said it was not averse to negotiations.

Nigerian President Cleans House

In another development, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has fired his top military brass in a move seen as rebooting his battle against Boko Haram militants.

The house-cleaning comes six weeks into Mr. Buhari’s first term, during which time attacks by the militant group have increased. Buhari appointed a new chief of Defense Staff, Navy chief, security adviser, Army chief of staff, chief of defense intelligence and chief of Air Staff.

Boko Haram Displaces Thousands

Boko Haram has been wreaking havoc in northern Nigeria for years. The United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) says that by March 2015 Boko Haram-related violence had internally displaced more than 1.2 million people in the northeast region and 47,276 in the northwest and north-central regions. The violence has caused 168,000 people to flee across the border to Niger, Chad and Cameroon. It is also estimated that since January 2014, 8,700 people have died in 360 Boko Haram related incidents.

Amnesty International estimates that at least 2,000 women and girls have been abducted by the group, including the group from Chibok. Nigeria is ranked #10 on Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians.

Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.

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