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Anti-Christian killings suggest “religious cleansing” – Nigerian church leaders

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Anti-Christian killings suggest “religious cleansing” – Nigerian church leaders

Country/Region: Africa, Nigeria

I was leading the congregation in prayers. Our eyes were closed when some gunmen stormed the church and opened fire on the congregation. Nigerian pastor Johnson Jauro

Intensifying anti-Christian killings in Nigeria suggest “systematic ethnic and religious cleansing”, according to the country’s church leaders, as the violence claims around 30 more lives.

Pastor-ayo-oritsejafort-4X3.jpg
Ayo Oritsejafor, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Ayo Oritsejafor, head of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said on Saturday (7 January) that church leaders had held an emergency meeting about the escalating attacks, which, they concluded, are reminiscent of the run-up to the civil war of 1967-70. More than a million people were killed during that conflict.

Concerns of a repeat are growing following two further anti-Christian attacks, which come after militant Islamist group Boko Haram issued a three day ultimatum for Christians to leave the north.

At least eight Christians were killed when gunmen stormed a church in Gombe, capital of Gombe State, during a prayer meeting on Thursday night (5 January).

Pastor Johnson Jauro, whose wife was shot dead in the attack, said:

The attackers started shooting sporadically. They shot through the window of the church, and many people were killed including my wife. Many members who attended the church service were also injured.

The following day, around 20 Christians were gunned down in Mubi, Adamawa state, as they gathered to mourn the death of another Christian who had been killed the night before. The assailants chanted “god is great” as they fired Kalashnikov rifles. They were also carrying knives and machetes.

Then on Saturday night (7 January), three people believed to be Christians were shot dead in the north-eastern town of Biu.

A Boko Haram spokesman claimed responsibility for attacks following the three-day ultimatum, which expired on Wednesday (4 January).

The group was behind a series of attacks on churches and other targets in five states over Christmas that left more than 40 people dead and prompted President Goodluck Jonathan to declare a state of emergency in the most troubled areas.

Boko Haram is fighting to create an Islamic state and impose sharia law. The group has been responsible for more than 500 deaths over the last year.

Nigeria is descending into further chaos, with widespread protests over the government’s removal of a fuel subsidy that has resulted in petrol prices more than doubling.

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    • Almighty God, we call to You for relief for Christians in the Gwoza area of Borno state in Northern Nigeria, as they face repeated violent attacks by Boko Haram militants. We pray for comfort for the relatives and friends of the hundreds who have been killed, and for the thousands who have been forced from their homes and seen them torched. We ask for Your special protection on Christians as they gather to worship You. We pray for the Nigerian authorities to re-establish control of the area, so that the displaced Christians may be safe from further attacks and free to rebuild their shattered communities. We pray too for their persecutors to come to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 3 hours ago

    • “This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution. Allah says we should finish them when we get them.” The leader of the Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram was speaking in a video that reasserted their agenda and addressed “the people of the world”, saying, “Either you are with us Mujahedeen or you are with the Christians.” The translation of the video was released as scores of people were killed in suicide bombings in May, including at least 118 in a double attack in Jos, Plateau state on 20 May. Pray that Boko Haram’s murderous campaign to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria will not succeed. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Pray for Bible school students in Vietnam who were subjected to a terrifying night-time raid by police and hired thugs. On 9 June, officers swooped from adjacent rooftops into the church compound that houses the school, while vehicle-loads of people were brought to the site to vandalise the building with bricks, stones and sticks. The students were beaten, punched and kicked before being taken away for interrogation; 20 were left in need of medical attention but were prevented from leaving to find it. Thugs continued to attack the compound over the next ten nights. Pray for the students as they recover from this brutal assault and that they will stand firm in their faith in the face of intimidation. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Aug 2014 00:00

    • In an earlier incident in Saisomboon village, three teenage Christian girls were disqualified from taking their final school examinations because of their faith. The village chief said that in following Christianity, Noi (15), Net (15) and Nut (14) had forfeited their right to education. Five families from the village have now converted to Christianity. A spokesman for Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom expressed the view that the authorities were trying to find every possible way “to stop the spread of Christian religious freedom in the area”. Pray that the girls will be allowed to complete their education and that opposition to the Christians in the village will cease. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Aug 2014 00:00

    • Five Christians have been charged with murder in Laos after a sick woman sought prayer at her local church, converted to Christianity and later died. Mrs Chan, from Saisomboon village in Savannakhet province, had been ill for two years when she approached the church. Her health improved for a short time, and she and her eight grown-up children came to faith in Christ. The sons and daughters wanted a Christian burial ceremony, but the authorities forbade this unless they renounced their faith, which they refused to do. When Christians in the area protested, five were arrested and subsequently charged with Mrs Chan’s murder. Pray that the God of justice will have compassion on His people (Isaiah 30:18) and ensure their acquittal from this false accusation. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Aug 2014 00:00

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