SANTA ANA, Calif. (Oct. 16, 2012) – More details have emerged from Open Doors regarding the massacre of students in Mubi, Nigeria, on Oct. 1.
According to Jerry Dykstra, media relations director for Open Doors USA, the post-massacre follow-up by Open Doors co-workers at the site re-confirms what Open Doors reported on Oct. 3 that Christians were the focus of the atrocity.
“Many mainstream media have reported the massacre was likely the result of a political/election issue among students at Federal Polytechnic State University,” says Dykstra. “But Open Doors co-workers have re-confirmed that those targeted were mostly Christians. The co-workers have talked directly to Christian leaders in Mubi and to several survivors. Christians around the area of Mubi have been targeted by the Islamic terrorist group an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria for a long time.”
Open Doors reports that just before midnight, the attackers called students out of their rooms and asked them for their names. Those with Christian names were shot dead or killed with knives. The bodies were left in lines outside the buildings. Students with traditionally Muslim names were told to quote Islamic scripture. “If you succeeded, you were let go,” a survivor told an Open Doors co-worker who rushed to Mubi, located in northern Nigeria, after the attack.
“I was asked to say my name to which I replied that I am a Christian and that my name is Elkanah,” said student Elkanah Sardauna. “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.”
When the church in Mubi celebrated its 52nd anniversary on Oct. 1, little did the church know that the day would end in a bloodbath.
According to Mubi church leaders, a total of 29 people, mostly students, were killed and at least five injured in the attack. Fully armed attackers suspected to be members of an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria invaded the Tudun Wada Wuro Patuje area, firing several shots into the air. They made their way to the off-campus hostels of the Federal Polytechnic State University, College of Health Technology and several private residencies of Christians.
Manasseh, a student who survived a gunshot and severe knife injuries, shared his 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.”
Christians in Mubi have been under siege for a long time. Prior to the Oct. 1 attack, Muslim extremists circulated letters to some Christians in the area, giving believers an ultimatum to either recant their Christian faith within two weeks or suffer fatal consequences. According to one believer, who showed Open Doors co-workers a letter, they were warned not to disclose the threat to anyone as any leakage of the information will result in death.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Mubi handed the letters over to security operatives in Yola. A search team was deployed to conduct house to house searches in Mubi. Many sophisticated weapons were seized from Muslim extremists. Police also discovered water tanks stacked with ammunition and several dry wells that were turned into storerooms for weapons.
However, these actions did not prevent the attack 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. an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria 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 the Mubi church has been seeking God’s face through praying and fasting.
The Associated Press has reported that approximately 800 Nigerians have died from an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria violence this year. Many on that list are Christians but it also includes moderate Muslims, government military troops and police. Nigeria is ranked No. 13 on the Open Doors 2012 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians.
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])