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Christian families killed as violence continues in Nigeria

Country/Region: Nigeria, Africa

A pregnant woman in labour was among 14 members of an extended Christian family killed by Muslims in Nigeria, as brutal violence continues in Plateau State and the death tally tops 100.

Gunmen carried out a midnight raid on the village of Vwang Kogot on 10 September; they shot or hacked to death the 14 family members.

President_Goodluck_Jonathan-4X3.jpg
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the military to restore order
Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.5

In another attack, gunmen killed seven children, their father and a neighbour in the mainly Christian village of Barkin Ladi, on 8 September.

More than 100 people have been killed in the sectarian violence that has beset Plateau State for more than two weeks.

On 12 September, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan ordered the military to “take all necessary actions” to stop the ethnic and religious unrest in Plateau State. But there have also been reports from eyewitnesses of military complicity in much of the violence. Survivors of the assault on Vwang Kogot reported that the assailants were accompanied by men in military uniform.

Tensions began to rise in the state capital, Jos, as the end of Ramadan approached. Fighting broke out over Muslim plans to pray at a disused Muslim prayer ground in the road where deadly anti-Christian bombings had been carried out on Christmas Eve 2010. At least 16 people were killed, including a pastor, who was mutilated and burnt; properties and vehicles were destroyed, including a church in Sarkin Mangu.

Plateau State in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, where the predominantly Muslim north meets the mainly Christian south, is often beset by sectarian tensions. The violence is widely seen as religiously motivated, but there are other factors at work too, including political rivalry; Christians mostly support the People’s Democratic Party while Muslims generally back the opposition.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in sectarian violence in Jos over the past two years.

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  • Pray for Barnabas Fund partners in South Sudan who have been supporting Christians forced from their homes by violence. Conflict between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar in December and January displaced around 860,000 people. Churches were burned down and a number of pastors killed, while many people lost their belongings and were left destitute. Give thanks that churches in and around the capital, Juba, were able to provide food and other essentials to many families with help from Barnabas. Pray that they may continue to be salt and light in their country at this unstable time (Matthew 5:13-16), and that it will soon be safe for displaced Christians to return home. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 15 hours ago

  • Pray for the residents of a mainly Christian village in Borno state, Northern Nigeria, in the aftermath of a horrific attack by Boko Haram militants on 15 February. Ask for God’s comfort for the relatives and friends of the 106 people in Izghe who were gunned down and slaughtered in their houses or in the open as they tried to flee. Pray for strength for the numerous residents who were wounded or whose properties were looted and torched. Pray too for the many Christians who fled into the neighbouring state after the attack, and ask that the Christian community in the North of Nigeria will be preserved in the face of Islamist violence. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

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