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Nigerian Militants attack Yobe State Capital

October 31, 2013 by Open Doors in General

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Heavily armed militants, suspected members of Boko Haraman extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria, attacked Damaturu, Yobe state capital late on Thursday, October 22. It appears that hundreds of members of the sect took part in the surprise offensive in an area that hosts government institutions but also affected the Christian dominated Jerusalem area. According to the BBC News, the militants also attacked a hospital, stole drugs and drove off in ambulances.

The death toll of the several hours long gun battle between the militants and the army has yet to be confirmed. A Damaturu resident told Nigerian media, “It was a coordinated onslaught by the insurgents. They divided themselves into so many groups. No one can tell you how many people have been killed, but the truth is the casualty must be high.”

An Open Doors worker in Nigeria reported, “Efforts to reach Christians in the town by telephone proved futile as all lines have been cut-it is common practice during events such as these. We have been able to contact Christians who live in areas away from the capital. They expressed great worry over the safety of their brethren in Damaturu. This city has suffered many attacks in the recent past and is now under a dusk-till-dawn curfew. We are concerned over the effect of the continued violence on believers in Yobe state. They are living in constant fear. Every single day there are believers who lose loved ones and see the destruction of their property.”

Yobe State is in the far north of Nigeria, just south of the Republic of Niger. The eastern boundary shares a border with Borno State. In fact, it was carved out of the large and politically unwieldy Borno State in 1991 and has shared in Borno State’s struggle with Boko Haram. Though President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states in May of this year, his government has since come under increased criticism for their failure to bring an end to the constant violence.

Father, so often we have brought before You the ongoing crisis in Northern Nigeria and we continue our prayers on their behalf today, especially for those in Damaturu. The government seems powerless to bring a stop to the unrelenting Boko Haram attacks on Christians in these northern states. We pray Your hand of mercy to fall upon them to bring about true justice, and we pray for the strength of Christians to keep their eyes on Christ, resisting what must be a powerful pull toward despair. We pray that You would remove fear and grant them the grace to respond to the crisis in ways that honor You, despite their loss and the injustice they experience daily. Thank You for the work of Open Doors in training and socio-economic development; we pray that You would bring much fruit to their labor. And always, we pray that You would sustain the hope of these Christians who have suffered so long. In the name of Jesus our hope and strength, Amen.

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