Systematic suicide bombings at three churches in Kaduna State, Nigeria, on the morning of Sunday 17 June left around 16 people dead and scores injured.
The incidents bore the hallmarks of Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which was reported recently as saying, “The Nigerian state and Christians are our enemies and we will be launching attacks on the Nigerian state and its security apparatus as well as churches until we achieve our goal of establishing an Islamic state in place of the secular state.”
Barely a Sunday goes by in Nigeria without another church attack. On Sunday 10 June, gunmen burst into a church in Biu, in the north-eastern state of Borno, and opened fire on the congregation. At least one woman was killed and three people were injured. Later that same day, a suicide bomber reportedly disguised as a worshipper drove up to an evangelical church in the central city of Jos, Plateau state, and detonated a bomb. The intensity of the explosion caused the church building to collapse. An estimated 62 people were critically injured, and around ten people are feared to have been killed; six people died in violence that broke out following the blast. And on Sunday 3 June, at least 18 people were killed and more than 40 injured in a suicide car bombing that struck two churches in Bauchi state.
Despite the danger, Christians are continuing to attend services. A pastor in Jos, Plateau state, Abraham Ekeneh, said after the church suicide bombing on 10 June, “I always sense the fear in the atmosphere during Sunday services, but we still don’t relent. We cannot stop attending Sunday services because if we do, it means we have helped them to achieve their objective.”
- Pray for all those who were bereaved or injured in the church bombings. Pray that they will know the Lord’s comfort in their sorrow and His healing hand on any emotional or physical wounds. Pray that Christians will respond in a Christ-like way.
- Pray for courage and wisdom for the government of Nigeria. Pray that they will bring to justice those responsible for the violence and bring an end the regular attacks on Nigerian Christians. Pray for a change of heart for those who lead Boko Haram.