September 22, 2015 by Janelle P

The multiple bomb blasts in the Borno State capital of Maiduguri in Nigeria on Sunday night has killed many more than the eight people media initially reported. At least 54 died and 90 were injured in three bomb blasts when a suspected member of Boko Haram detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at a mosque in Ajilari and insurgents also threw IEDs at a viewing center, a police officer told Reuters. About two hours later, two bombs exploded at a checkpoint 77 miles away at a market in the town of Monguno, killing at least 27 people.

“I counted 27 dead bodies from the scene,” said Malum Sunoma, a local resident who helped with rescues. He was speaking on the phone from a hospital where his brother was being treated.

“Five vehicles brought 62 injured persons from the Monguno attack to the specialist hospital in Maiduguri,” said a doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Maiduguri has been free of attacks for over a month. It was last hit by a bomb at the end of July and there was a skirmish with suspected Boko Haram militants on the outskirts of the city in mid-August.

A new audio message reportedly from Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau called the Nigerian army liars for saying troops have regained territory from the militant Islamist group.

Nigeria’s military said last Friday it had recaptured villages and rescued 90 people in a process that involved the “continuous elimination” of Boko Haram from Nigerian territory.

“They have lied in saying that they have retaken our territories, taken weapons and driven us away,” said the recording posted online, which could not be verified. “They are actually the ones whom we have driven away. They are all liars.”

When Open Doors (OD) visited Maiduguri recently, OD representatives witnessed the brutal physical conditions for Christians, many of them in refugee camps. Open Doors workers also learned that many Christians were struggling spiritually.

Despite continuing insecurity in the area, OD workers returned with gifts for adults and children to help them face the onslaught on their faith. For the adults there were teachings about prayer on Secure Digital (SD) cards that can be heard through cell phones or radios. OD representatives also delivered 500 Children’s Bibles.

OD workers said it was very rewarding to see the joy of the believers when receiving the gifts. Both the adults and children could not wait to put their gifts to use. Pray that the gospel will be a sure anchor in the storm they are facing.

Open Doors estimates that more than 12,500 Christians have been killed in religion related violence in northern Nigeria between 2006 and 2014. Boko Haram violence has claimed most of the lives. It is also estimated that this violence has displaced more than 500,000 Christians in northern Nigeria. For the past two years Maiduguri has suffered the brunt of the Boko Haram insurgency. For the most part it has been cut off from the outside world.

Nigeria is ranked #10 on Open Doors 2015 World Watch List ( of the 50 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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