Published: 13:00 GMT Standard Time - Tuesday 08 November 2011
Christians killed and churches bombed amid Islamist violence in Nigeria
Country/Region: Nigeria, Africa
Two worshippers were killed and at least 12 injured in an armed raid on a church, and at least six other churches were bombed during a spate of widespread attacks by Islamist militants in Northern Nigeria that left around 150 people dead.
A church in Tabak village, Kaduna State, was targeted during a prayer meeting on Thursday evening (3 November). As the meeting was drawing to a close, gunmen burst into the building and fired at the congregation, which consisted mainly of women and children. Two women died at the scene, while at least twelve other people were wounded; some were said to be in a critical condition.
Christians are frequently victims of violence in Nigeria
The Reverend Yunusa Nmadu, secretary of the Kaduna State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, condemned the armed attack “on innocent Christian worshippers in the church” and expressed concern that the incident had happened “in spite of the heavy presence of soldiers in the area”.
The following day, two other Northern states were rocked by a series of deadly bomb and gun attacks for which the militant Islamist group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility. A rescue agency official said that the death toll stood at 150.
The militants mainly targeted the security forces, hitting police stations and an army base in Yobe and Borno states. Churches were also attacked; six were bombed in a mainly Christian neighbourhood of Damaturu called Jerusalem in Yobe state. One minister whose church was burnt down said gangs of young men were roaming the streets throwing improvised bombs into church buildings.
Boko Haram, which is fighting to establish an Islamic state in the North, has carried out a number of major strikes this year; more than 240 people have died in the group’s violent campaign. Their spiritual leader, Abubakar Shekau, has urged followers to carry out more assassinations and bombings, saying:
Whomever we kill, we kill because Allah says we should kill and we kill for a reason.
Tensions have been particularly high in Northern Nigeria since April when Muslims went on the rampage in protest against the re-election of Christian President Goodluck Jonathan. They unleashed their rage against Christian targets among others; scores of churches were destroyed, hundreds of people killed and tens of thousands displaced during the violence.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said:
Islamists have once again wreaked havoc in Nigeria, leaving a trail of devastation and destroyed lives. Amid this ongoing carnage, our brothers and sisters continue to suffer. We must pray earnestly for peace in that troubled land and be ready to help meet the practical needs of Christians who have been affected by the violence.
Christian minorities in Northern Nigeria and many other contexts are very vulnerable to anti-Christian violence. If you would like to help brothers and sisters who have been affected by such attacks, please send your donation to project 00-345 (Victims of Violence Fund). Please click to donate online using our secure server.
If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference 00-345 (Victims of Violence Fund).
If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference 00-345 (Victims of Violence Fund).
For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/345 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).
- That there will be peace in Nigeria, and that the authorities will be able to restrain Boko Haram’s terrorist activities.
- For all those people who have lost loved ones or been injured in the latest attacks.
- That the Lord will give Nigerian Christians the strength to stand firm in their faith amid unrelenting attacks.
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