A series of coordinated attacks on African Christian communities in Nigeria’s Plateau state over the weekend has left many dead and injured. The various news reports provide conflicting information about some of the basic facts, including the number of attackers, the sequence of events and an accounting of the dead… but they all agree on the severity of the attacks.
Information released from news sources state that 50 of the 90 people killed were from a single church in Maseh village. Sources report that rebels from the an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria More sect surrounded the church and set it on fire. As the church burned the assailants waited and killed anyone trying to escape. The spokesperson for an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria More, Abul Qaqa, claimed responsibility and guaranteed that there would be more attacks on Christians as they attempt to establish total control and Islamize the region. The rebel Islamic sect an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria More has essentially declared war in Jos and its surrounding area.
Sunday and Monday (July 8 and 9) were declared public holidays in Plateau state to pray for God’s intervention and to mourn the dead. The Nation, a Nigerian newspaper, reported that even as mourners gathered on Sunday to mourn Saturday’s victims, gunmen shot at them. Among those killed Sunday were a national senator and a state assemblyman. As of Tuesday, there was still a curfew from 6pm to 12pm in and around the city of Jos.
Christians in Northern Nigeria are looking to President Goodluck Jonathan, a fellow Christian, to bring an end to the terrorist attacks in the north. Northern Nigeria ranks No. 13 on the World Watch List of the 50 countries in which religious persecution of Christians is most severe.
If you would like to send a message of encouragement to Christians in Nigeria, our Open Doors team will ensure that they receive it. Our brothers and sister there have shared how it has blessed them to receive your messages and prayers as they struggle to endure the violence in their area. (Add your message below).
Father, once again with heavy hearts, we lift up our brothers and sisters in the Jos region. We pray for the Open Doors team working in the area and for all Christians, that security agents would be empowered to protect their people and stop the attacks on Christians and their places of worship. Believers there must surely be struggling with how to respond in God-honoring ways to the continual attacks, and we pray that You would pour out wisdom and boldness, mercy and forgiveness, protection and peace in this troubling time. We pray You would give them a tangible glimpse this week of Your presence with them. In the name of Jesus our only true hope in this life and the life to come, Amen.