Boko Haram adds more terror to deadly raids in Northern Nigeria

By June 6, 2014
(Image courtesy Voice of the Martyrs Nigeria)

(Image courtesy Voice of the Martyrs Nigeria)

Nigeria (MNN) — In one of at least six raids being reported earlier this week, Nigeria’s terror group Boko Haram sank to a new level of psychological warfare.

According to the BBC, villagers in one area of Borno State, near Cameroon’s border, tried to repulse an attack Monday. Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs USA, explains that a large group of men arrived in the village on Tuesday, dressed as soldiers. They told the frightened residents they were there to protect the village and herded everyone into a church. “When the villagers gathered in the church building, one or more of the Boko Haram fighters then opened fire on the crowd. Again, these are Boko Haram fighters wearing Nigerian military uniforms and presenting themselves as Nigerian military there to protect the people of the village.”

Nettleton agrees that the second attack was likely in reprisal for Monday’s resistance. Police say as many as 30 people died in that one attack, alone. It also raises a question of how the fighters managed to get such convincing disguises. “HOW would they have military uniforms? How would they have military-grade weaponry? There have been Nigerian media reports that military officers in Nigeria have been court-martialed for cooperating with Boko Haram. The Nigerian government, the Nigerian military leadership, denies these reports.”

Yet, the reality of Tuesday’s violence is unsettling, in spite of the government response to the accusations. “When you hear reports of Boko Haram having military uniforms, when you hear reports of military officers being court martialed for cooperating with Boko Haram, it kind of forms a picture of a military that has at least some sympathy with these radical Muslims who are trying to force the Christians out of northern Nigeria.”

What’s more, the militants have their own agenda that seems to be well-funded and well-coordinated. They are trying to create a Sharia state in Northern Nigeria with none of the Western and Christian influences the region currently has. Additionally, the Boko Haram has ties with jihadists in Somalia and Mali. An insurgency on the borders risks breeding more instability. Nettleton says that’s what’s getting international traction. Leaders are finally asking, “‘What’s going to be done about Boko Haram? How we are going to put a lid on this and keep it from domino-ing across Africa?'”

(Photo courtesy VOM Nigeria)

(Photo courtesy VOM Nigeria)

The Christian Association of Nigeria has repeatedly stated that Christians may take the law into their own hands to avenge Boko Haram’s attacks and what it believes is an inadequate government response. Nettleton says, “Pray for the protection of our brothers and sisters there. I think this is a grieving body of Christ. We can pray for a sense of encouragement, a sense of hopefulness.”

VOM Nigeria provides tools for evangelism, medical care for riot victims, and job training for widows and other affected Christians. The good news is that although dealing with grief, fear, and sorrow, believers are saying, “Yes. There is pain and suffering, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re called to serve the Lord, we’re called to minister and evangelize and to be Christ’s representatives.”

This is where your help is needed. While it’s not safe to actually go, you can give.  “There’ are a couple of ways that we come alongside people who are planting the seeds of the Gospel: one is through training for pastors and evangelists–discipleship training, evangelism training. Secondly is through Bibles.”

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

And you can pray. Pray for the protection of believers in Nigeria, that they would be bold for Christ. “Pray for the Nigerian government. This is a huge challenge for them. It seems, many times, that they are overmatched by the challenge, but we do need to pray that government leaders will have wisdom, that they will know how to respond and hopefully get a handle on the violence that is happening across northern Nigeria.”

2 Comments

  • Dawn Baggett says:

    I pray for peace and protection of the Nigeria Christians and encouragement, faith and strength with comfort for those injured and who lost family and friends and witnessed the murders. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

  • ken says:

    I am not a military apologist. But be aware that there is a black market for camouflage uniforms and AK47s or other military hardware and it is used in almost all military formations. Thus their claim to be Nigerian soldiers does not mean it can be true.

    On the assertion of taking laws into their hands, such is what they, BH, want and this will now become a religious war. Suffice is to say anyone who ventures into such a conflict zone must be fully aware of the possible consequences and if their faith is not strong enough to protect them, my advice will be to leave the zone. Even Joseph and Mary were adviced to move away when their son and our Saviour, Jesus, was born and they only returned when those who were after him were dead and gone.

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