On Sunday 20 March suspected Fulani extremists attacked the village of Kagoro, a Christian community in Kaduna State, killing 32 residents.
Among the dead was Anita Dauda, who was still recovering from injuries sustained in another violent assault on Kagoro six years ago.
It was reported that Anita saw her mother burned alive. Her brother was also killed. Anita was shot seven times and received a blow to the head, eventually dying from her injuries.
In 2016 Anita had been shot twice in the hip but survived. She underwent several surgical procedures, the most recent in January this year, and was now – two months before her death – finally able to walk again.
The sheer numbers of Christian men, women and children killed by Islamist extremists can become numbing. After all, in today’s Barnabas Aid Update we report a subsequent attack in Kaduna State, in which another 50 people were killed.
Anita’s story is a helpful corrective. Each person who dies – or is injured or abducted – is a unique person made in the image of God.
The awful circumstances of Anita’s death also remind us of the terrible violence and suffering that lie behind news reports written in sanitised language.
But if all this causes us to think more deeply about the suffering of our brothers and sisters, it can – if we’re not careful – drive us to despair.
Instead, may it drive us to prayer. Our prayers, in the Name of Christ, are effective and avail much (James 5:16). The prayers of the saints are as incense before the throne of God (Revelation 5:8). Many a Christian can tell of answered prayer in the direst and darkest of circumstances.
Our aim in sharing updates from the suffering Church is never to discourage nor distress, but rather to encourage you to “always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18).