Suicide Bombers Attack Refugee Camp
An estimated five suicide bombers attacked a fish market and refugee camp in the town of Baga Sola on the shores of Lake Chad in western Chad, killing at least 37 people and injuring more than 50 others. The camp on the town’s outskirts is home to tens of thousands of Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram’s violent campaign in their country. Witnesses reported hearing three blasts during the October 10 attack, one at the busy fish market and two at the crowded refugee camp.
Chad is a majority-Muslim country. Although Chad’s laws protect religious freedom and President Idris Debby’s term has been generally characterized by greater religious liberty for Christians, the majority of government and military positions are occupied by Muslims, who often use their positions to exert pressure on Christians. Nominal Christians are especially susceptible to this pressure.
According to the Joshua Project, around 35% of the citizens of Chad are professing Christians, but only 11% are evangelical. One need only glance at the surrounding countries to understand the pressures faced by those who identify as Christians, especially new believers who are often minimally discipled. To the north lies Libya, to the east Sudan, to the south are Central African Republic (CAR) and Cameroon, and to the west Niger and Nigeria. Of the six adjacent countries, four are on the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List (WWL). All four are in the top twenty, and two of them are in the top ten. Although Chad was not listed on the WWL this year, Chadian believers still experience great pressure at times.
Boko Haram attacks in neighboring Nigeria are now encroaching into Chad, adding to the tension, especially in the western region. During the week of June 26 of this year, Boko Haram was blamed for two suicide bombings in Chad and a raid in Niger, leaving a total of 72 dead. These suicide bombings followed threats from Boko Haram against Chad and other nations that have formed a military coalition against the group. Chad has played an instrumental role in the multinational campaign.
Father, we lift up our brothers and sisters in Baga Sola as they grieve the loss of lives, seek healing from injuries and from the emotional trauma, and as they seek solace from their Savior. We pray for Your Holy Spirit to be at work in these difficult circumstances as You bend your ear to hear the cries of their hearts and enfold them in Your comfort. Take even these dark times to strengthen them, to open their eyes to behold the majesty of Christ in their midst, to build their trust. We pray that rather than being beaten down and discouraged that they would be strengthened and emboldened, and that many around them will see Your presence and work in their lives and turn to You in faith. In the Name of Jesus, our High Priest who has gone before us both in suffering and in the hope of glory that is set before us, Amen.