Open Doors Confirms Death of 4, Injuring of 40 Church Members In Bombing in Jos, Nigeria
SANTA ANA, Calif. (Feb. 28, 2012) – On Sunday morning, Feb. 26, two suicide bombers drove their car into the worship service of the Jos Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN). Open Doors sources confirmed the killing of least four people and injuring of over 40 church members. Among the dead was a young girl.
The Islamist sect an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria claimed responsibility for the bombing. The terrorists forced their way through the church’s security checkpoint, after ignoring the guards posted at the entrance who signaled for the car to stop. Security opened fire on the trespassers, shot dead one suicide bomber and injured the second one before the bombs went off, killing the second assailant as well.
“The increasingly intentional activity of Boko Haram is now taking on the characteristics of a real war,” said Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller. “These are not random attacks, as they’re often characterized in the media. They’re really intentional, and they’re designed with one purpose in mind: the elimination of Christianity. Jos is often described as a religious fault line between the mostly Muslim north and mostly Christian south.”
The sound of the explosion was heard all over the city. Although the bombers aimed to drive into the church, the bombs were detonated 15 meters before it crashed into the building. If the suicide bombers had succeeded in their primary intentions, the roof would have collapsed on the assembly, killing many more. Nevertheless, it caused excessive damage to the structure including the more than 30 cars that were ruined in the blast.
An Open Doors co-worker visited the scene. The Christians explained to him that the bomber was reportedly following a convoy of soldiers patrolling the streets of the city. At the church the convoy slowed down. The next moment the bombers drove into the church premises, ignoring security. Some eye witnesses alleged that a Muslim soldier has ordered them to allow the perpetrators in. He was arrested shortly after the incident.
The Church of Christ in Jos has a large number of state employees on their membership, including the Governor of Bauchi State, Jonah Jang. Church leaders consider that a strong motive for the attack.
Boko Haram has been targeting Christians since Christmas. Sunday’s bombing is the latest in a series of attacks on churches, sparking a riot by Christian youths with reports that at least two Muslims were killed in the violence. A row of Muslim-owned shops were also burned.
Nigeria is ranked No. 13 on the 2012 Open Doors World Watch List of 50 countries which are the worst persecutors of Christians. According to World Watch List, Nigeria had at least 300 martyrs in 2011, although the actual number could be doubled or tripled. That number is the most in any country although North Korea could have had more but information is hard to obtain due to the isolation of the communist state.
1. Boko Haram vowed to launch more attacks on Jos which is considered the capital of Christianity in Northern Nigeria. The church in Jos is in dire need of our prayers.
2. Pray for the victims and their families, the church leaders and all Christians living under these extremely tense circumstances.
3. Pray for courage and God’s divine protection for Open Doors co-workers in the Jos area.
An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world’s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email [email protected])