On Christmas Eve, six Christians were killed and 25 others were injured within churches in Northern Nigeria. Victory Baptist Church and Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) were both attacked by the outlawed Islamic an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria sect, opposed to Western education and culture. The an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria members reportedly stormed the COCIN church in two vehicles and detonated bombs that shattered the worship center gate and killed the security guard. The Baptist church was set on fire, along with the pastor’s house next door. Danjuma Akawu, who survived the attack on the Baptist church, said “they hacked the two choir members using knives and petrol bomb before heading to the pastor’s residence, where he was killed.”
In addition to the church attacks, seven explosions went off in two different areas of Jos in central Nigeria, killing 32 people and injuring 74, many of them as they were doing their Christmas shopping, police said. “The place targeted had all kinds of people there — Muslims, non-Muslims.” Jos, the capital of Plateau state, is in the so-called middle-belt region between the predominantly Muslim north and the mainly Christian south and has long been a hotspot of ethnic and religious friction in Nigeria.
“It is sad that when Christians were supposed to be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, some people, out of wickedness, would come to perpetrate such evil,” said Borno State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria the Rev. Yuguda Ndirmva. Many Christians have taken refuge to avoid further attacks as soldiers and police keep watch at churches and other strategic locations in the state. Colleagues in Jos have reported that there is relative calm in Jos at the moment, but asked us to pray that unrest will not spread/escalate.
Father, we realize that the world is full of opposition to Your gospel, and we pray now that You would comfort and sustain the Christians who live in such spiritually dark places. We pray that the extreme circumstances of persecution would cease, and we ask specifically for all attacks against Christians in Nigeria to end. Father, please reassure those who mourn the loss of loved ones that they are not alone, that You are with them in the midst of their pain and suffering. Soothe their aching hearts and bless them with Your divine grace to forgive those who persecute them. Fill Your flock in Nigeria with supernatural love and mercy for those who seek to harm them, giving all the glory to You. Amen
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