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Traumatized people sit around in one of the IDP camps we visited

Over the weekend of Jun 23 and 24, suspected Fulani herders went on a killing spree in villages around Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, murdering as many as 200 people and displacing thousands (exact numbers not known at this stage). Despite a dusk-till-dawn curfew, some violence still occurred on Monday, Jun 25.

OD visited the displaced, and after witnessing their dire circumstances, returned the next day with relief aid to help them deal with the initial effects of their displacement.

“The displaced Christians were in a pathetic situation,” reported OD worker, Kerrie*. “Life has become a living hell for them. They have lost loved ones, houses and all they labored for in the twinkling of an eye. The agony they are going through is hard to describe. We saw people who were still in a haze over what they have gone through. Children were crying hysterically, perhaps because of hunger or perhaps because of hunger and the trauma they had been through.”

More than 3,000 displaced in the two camps. We delivered rice, maize, oil, tomato paste and toiletries. When the IDPs saw the van arriving they were shouting for joy. Some just burst into tears.

The women immediately started cooking for the different families and sharing the food among them.

Children eat of the food we distributed

In 2018 alone, militant herdsmen have targeted and killed more than 600 Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region, raiding Christian villages and setting fire to homes and churches.

‘IT’S PART OF A GRAND PLAN TO ISLAMIZE NIGERIA’

The attacks have some local sources saying that the ongoing violence is part of a “grand plan to Islamize Nigeria.”

“The killings are becoming no longer herder and farmer clashes” but a “deliberate attempt to conquer and occupy the land of the people’s ancestral heritage,” said Dr. Soja Bewarang, who also denounced the attack on a Bible school that trained African missionaries in Gana-Ropp village.

Reverend Gideon Para-Mallam, of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in Jos and founder of the Citizens Monitoriing Group working with Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, notes that the violence is part of a pattern, an emerging genda, saying that it is “another Boko Haram in disguise.”

The same Fulani people who have been living in peace with farmers suddenly have changed from using sticks to tend their cows, all of a sudden going to the farmlands, killing Christian farmers. their wives and children, surrounding whole villages. It’s a pointer … because Plateau state is the epicenter of Christianity.”

The weekend violence brought back memories of the March 2010 attacks when more than 500 people were massacred by herdsmen in Dogon Na Hauwa, the worst such incident in Nigeria’s recent history. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

CHRISTIANS UNDER FIRE

Throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, we are hearing horror stories of Christians being targeted and persecuted. Across the world’s second-largest continent, Christians are under fire right now in West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa and now Southeast Africa, as each day new reports surface, bringing news of attacks and how governments are becoming increasingly hostile toward believers.

In many areas governed by Islamic law, Christians are denied or are the last to receive community services and relief, including food and medical care. Difficult living conditions like these are forcing some new believers to revert back to Islam simply to make a better life for their families. For Christians in areas like the Horn of Africa peninsula, freedom to worship is simply not a reality.

The world’s second-largest continent—including 1.2 billion people, thousands of ethnic groups and 54 internationally recognized countries—is currently a persecution powder keg.

PRAYING WITH CHRISTIANS IN PLATEAU STATE AND NIGERIA’S MIDDLE BELT

  • Pray that God would be near to our brokenhearted brothers and sisters in Jos and throughout Africa. Ask God to be tangibly close.
  • Ask God to pour out His Spirit of love, order and calm over these communities. Pray for safety and protection in the days ahead.
  • Ask God to intervene in this violence and bring the persecutors to justice. These attacks have gone on for too long.
  • Pray with Pastor Kwol and his wife who have lost so much family and their home.
  • Pray with Rev. Musa Choji’s church who have lost their pastor and his family. God we ask you to bring beauty from the ashes.
  • As we realize the magnitude of these attacks and previous ones, pray that God would end this movement and any aspirations of Islamizing Nigeria.

Although the realities of violence like these attacks can be overwhelming, we have repeatedly seen how the Lord sovereignly uses the Body of Christ to bring hope and remind Christians on the front lines that they are not forgotten.

Open Doors is standing with believers in these areas through emergency relief aid; training on how to stand strong in the midst of persecution; legal help and more. Right now, we are rushing critical aid and support to African believers whose lives are immersed in persecution. These Christ followers are risking all they have to follow Jesus. Nigeria ranks no.14 in the World Watch List.

*Name changed for security reasons

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Christian persecution is increasing worldwide—more than any time in modern history. And Open Doors is on the frontlines—with more than 60 years’ experience—standing with suffering believers to strengthen the church. Join us with Brother Andrew and stand with your brothers and sisters in Christ. 

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