Release partners report that Islamist militant group Boko Haram has launched fresh attacks on churches in Yobe – while militants continue their attacks on Christian villages in Plateau.
Stefanos Foundation says eight churches were destroyed in Geidam in Yobe state on Saturday. Police headquarters were also attacked in a series of bombings and gun attacks. This follows a familiar pattern in attacks by Boko Haram who target security forces and Christians in their campaign to establish strict Sharia (Islamic law).
Stefanos also reports that its own staff were caught up in an attack on a Church of Christ of Nigeria congregation in Barkin Ladi town, Plateau state, last Wednesday. Four Christians died in the raid.
'Fulani Muslims were shooting at Christians from the hills and then police moved in in armoured cars to defend the village,' said a Stefanos spokesman. 'Villagers and police were being fired on from all sides. We had to withdraw for our own safety. We later saw houses being set on fire.'
Compass Direct news agency is reporting that at least 45 ethnic Berom Christians were killed in Plateau in the week leading up to last Monday. Their attackers were reportedly Fulani Muslim herdsmen and military.
Compass said that these 45 casualties included nine Christians killed in a further assault on Barkin Ladi last Thursday and 26 killed in nearby Kwok village on the same day. Churches in Barkin Ladi were very poorly attended on Sunday as so many Christians have fled the area.
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(Sources: Compass Direct, Stefanos Foundation, Vanguard – Nigeria)
• Ask God to comfort all those bereaved, injured or affected by recent attacks in Yobe and Plateau. Pray that Christians in those states will know God as their rock and their Saviour.
• Thank God for recent reports from Stefanos that, in some areas at least, police and security forces are protecting Christian villages from attack. Pray that this will continue and will help persuade the many Christians fleeing the area to return home as well as deter militants.