Your prayers are again desperately needed for our family in Nigeria, following another attack on Christians, this time by a group of bandits. The incident reflects the increasing and shocking impunity with which armed bandits and extremist Islamic militants are wreaking havoc across Nigeria, with Christians often amongst those targeted. The country is number nine on the World Watch List.
Christians in Nigeria continue to suffer as Islamic militants and armed bandits attack with impunity in parts of the country
A Christian has been killed and at least 60 kidnapped after a group of bandits stormed a church in Kaduna state, Nigeria, last Sunday (31 October).
It’s the latest in a string of kidnappings in Nigeria, with Islamic militants and armed bandits targeting people with increasing impunity. This has been aggravated by the government’s failure to decisively address the country’s rapidly growing security problem.
"This kidnapping is a shocking example of the audacity of the so-called bandits and the impunity that is escalating" Jo Newhouse
Christians are frequently the victims of these attacks. Often they are targeted specifically because of their faith; at other times, they are simply an easy target for violence. It’s not clear if this recent attack was religiously motivated, though observers report that armed bandit groups are at least to some extent influenced by the Islamic extremists Boko Haram.
To compound matters, a shutdown of state telecom services to help combat bandit activity is understood to have exacerbated the attack. The church was unable to call for help, whilst the bandits have reportedly asked for a higher ransom because they had to travel further for network service to contact the victims’ relations.
The government claims that security in the locality was strong, but Reverend Joseph Haya, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), disputes this, saying security has worsened. “We are seriously worried now,” he said. “Gunmen are gradually approaching the township.”
“This kidnapping is a shocking example of the audacity of the so-called bandits and the impunity that is escalating, seemingly without bounds in Nigeria,” says Jo Newhouse, spokesperson for Open Doors work in sub-Saharan Africa.
“The government is grossly failing its citizens in this matter and the continuing lawlessness is creating ideal breeding ground for extremism. We call on the international Body of Christ to remain in fervent pray for the release of the church members, and pray that the Lord will use this situation to bring a breakthrough in this situation.”
Source: Politics Nigeria
You can hear more about the persecution facing Christians in Nigeria this Sunday (7 November), as we join with CSW, Release International and the Evangelical Alliance for a special online event to mark International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the persecuted church.
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