Nigeria (MNN) — Coordinated attacks on Sunday left at least 19
dead in areas where Christian Aid Mission is partnering with national church leaders.
In both attacks, Christians were targeted while they were
attending worship services in Kano and Maiduguri, the capital of Northeast
Bill Bray, a spokesman for Christian Aid Mission notes, "It's
strange that the Boko Haram are attacking churches, but most of the new
converts from Islam are meeting in small discipleship groups in homes and face-to-face."
Police say the unclaimed attacks bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram's
work. Bray explains, "Many times,
you will see similar reports. They'll light a house on fire, or light a church
on fire, and then, as the people come out they'll fire on them, or just hack
them with machetes."
In the Kano State attack, gunmen struck Bayero University–in an
area where churches hold their services. Someone threw homemade explosives,
and Christians were gunned down trying to escape.
Authorities also say that the later attack in Maiduguri saw gunmen
open fire at a Church of Christ in Nigeria chapel, killing five people,
including a pastor preparing for communion.
Christian Aid supported Nigerian partners planted over 34 churches in the area
last year. "This area is an area of
tremendous church growth," says Bray, adding, "It's [near] a fault line
between the Christian South and the Muslim North. There's been tremendous fruit
among the Fulani people in this area."
However, in spite of the increased number of terrorist attacks
from Boko Haram, Bray says, "It's not slowing the work
of God down in any way. They have a Bible school there. They have an
agricultural assistance program." They're also providing literacy programs,
schools, and veterinary services.
Rae Burnett, the African Director for Christian Aid, speaking
earlier on the crisis in northern Nigeria and throughout North Africa, praised
the native missionaries. "Under threat of persecution and even death, these men
and women are quietly, wisely, and successfully bringing the Gospel to their
people. Scrutiny has greatly increased since the recent unrest began, and I am
so grateful to have these working contacts in place during this time of
intensified crisis. But it must be understood: for these men and women, every
moment of their lives has been potentially dangerous since the day they became
followers of Christ."
Bray says right now, the violence has created another huge issue.
"There's a lot of movement of refugees. Many Fulani are moving out of
their home villages where they are persecuted and into cities and safer areas." Christian Aid Mission is collecting
emergency relief for refugees and victims of such attacks,
gift code 500-IUCN.
Christian Aid Mission is also asking for prayer. "Pray for those on the front-line. They're taking the risks that they will continue to be encouraged
and have that Holy Spirit-inspired fortitude that they need to keep