Christians Targeted in Nigerian Student Massacre in Mubi

October 17, 2012 by Open Doors in General

Nigerian man praying

When church members in Mubi celebrated their 52nd anniversary on October 1, they never imagined that the day would end in a bloodbath. The nightmare began just before midnight as armed attackers called students out of their hostel rooms demanding to know their names. Those with Christian names were immediately shot dead or killed with knives. The bodies were arranged in lines outside the buildings. Students with traditionally Muslim names were ordered to quote Islamic scripture. “If you succeeded, you were let go,” a survivor told an Open Doors co-worker who arrived in a tense Mubi within hours of the attack.

“I was asked to say my name to which I replied that I am a Christian and that my name is Elkanah. They threw me to the ground, and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar.’ I cried out to Jesus, face to the ground. They demanded that I stop calling on Jesus, but I persisted. The next moment I was shot in the hand, and then slashed with a knife at the back of my neck. They must have thought I was dead because they left,” testified a traumatized diploma student named Elkanah Sardauna. “It was only God who saved me when they came to our room. We were four sharing the room and all of us had Christian names. My three roommates were killed before my eyes. They got to me last.”

According to Mubi church leaders, a total of 29 people, mostly students, were killed and at least five injured in the attack. Heavily armed attackers, suspected to be members of Boko Haram, invaded the Tudun Wada Wuro Patuje area, firing shots into the air. They made their way to student housing at the off-campus hostels of the Federal Polytechnic State University, College of Health Technology, and the private residencies of several known Christians.

Manasseh, another survivor, shared his harrowing ordeal. “They asked me to recant my Christian faith to spare my life. I refused. After my Muslim roommate quoted some Islamic scripture, he was told to leave the room. They said they were only after these ‘infidels’ who would all die that day. Then they shot me and slashed my back. This is really a picture of the great hatred for us Christians in the region.”

Largely ignored by the outside world, the church in Mubi has been under siege from Islamic groups for quite some time now. Prior to the massacre, the jihadists circulated letters to several Christians in the area carrying an ultimatum: either recant their Christian faith within two weeks or suffer fatal consequences. According to one believer, they were warned not to disclose the threat as any leakage of the information would result in death.

In spite of death threats, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Mubi handed the letters over to security operatives. A search team in Mubi town confiscated stockpiles of sophisticated weapons from Muslims. Some of the weapons were stacked in water tanks or dry wells had been turned into storerooms for weapons and ammunition. Sadly, these actions were not enough to prevent the assault on the Christians in Mubi.

Rev. Maxwell Iliya, representing CAN in Mubi, said, “We are only living by the grace of God. The weapons recovered by the search team in Mubi are enough to eliminate every single Christian in Mubi and the entire Adamawa state. Boko Haram is out to eliminate us. The city has become very dangerous. The government is no longer interested in protecting us. The attackers spent two hours killing and destroying, and to date not a single government official has come to sympathize with us.”

For the past three months, well before the massacre, the Mubi church has been seeking God’s face through praying and fasting. They have felt the dangerously shifting attitude towards believers in their area, yet remain determined to overcome evil with good. A church leader said, “My Imam neighbor, with whom I used to be on good terms, seemed outwardly shocked when the search team discovered a pile of weapons in his water tank. I was not too surprised because he is a youth leader in Boko Haram. But despite these circumstances the church will hold on to God and will triumph; we are not going to retaliate. We want to display Christ likeness even when they hate us. We are not going to relocate from Mubi. This is where the Lord has placed us. We shall stay and fulfill our calling to the glory of our heavenly Father.”

Those killed in the attack included:

  1. Sebastine Bulus(Christian)
  2.  Ishaku Joshua (Christian)
  3. James Joshua (Christian)
  4. Lucky Emmanuel (Christian)
  5. Irmiya Yohana (Christian)
  6. Adamu Dakkawa (Christian)
  7. Yunana Idris (Christian)
  8. Amsel Idris (Christian)
  9. Muhammed (Muslim)
  10. Bitrus Ila (Christian)
  11. Ahmed Maigiraya (Christian)
  12. Nimfas (Christian)
  13. Nimfas (Christian)
  14. Chimobi Igbo (Christian)
  15. Alasan Zamba Ghaji (Muslim)
  16. Gajare Matakam
  17. Gajare Matakam
  18. Christopher Gesme
  19. Ahmadu Furfina (Muslim)
  20. Eze Tigani (Christian)
  21. Yusuf Sulaiman (Muslim)
  22. Mohammed Suleiman (Muslim)
  23. Aliyu (Christian)
  24. Ishaku Ibrahim Zambuk (Christian)
  25. Umaru Sulaiman (Muslim)
  26. Ezekiel Chindal (Christian)
  27. Ayo (Christian)

Names of Survivors:

  1. Elkanah Sardauna (Christian)
  2. Manasseh (Christian)
  3. Adamu Markus (Christian)
  4. Benjamin Jalingo (Christian)
  5. Dominic Yakubu (Christian)

Father, we bring before You the 29 people who were killed in the Mubi massacre. You know each name; You wept over the trauma they sustained. Those who followed You in this life You have drawn into Your very presence. We weep today for their families, for those who were injured and saw friends killed before their very eyes, for those who cannot dispel the memories of that night. Replace the memories with a vision of Christ who is present with them. Comfort them, and give them courage to serve You each day, that even in the midst of the evil and darkness around them, You will be honored and glorified by their lives. In the name of Jesus who is our strength in the midst of our own weakness. Amen.

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