Fresh religious violence erupts in Nigeria

By May 12, 2004

Nigeria (MNN)–Another retaliatory attack in Plateau State, Nigeria has church leaders crying for peace and urging calm.

A total of 7,500 people displaced from their homes following a murderous attack by Christian militiamen on the mainly Muslim town of Yelwa in central Nigeria.

Open Doors USA quotes Nigeria’s Christian association as denying involvement in the clashes between Christian and Muslim tribes.

Yakubu Pam, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Plateau state, said, “As the body of Christ — washed, purified and sanctified by the blood of Jesus –we shall never partake in such heinous and dastardly acts, not to talk of taking life, which to the Christian faith is wrong.”

However, Open Doors’ Jerry Dykstra believes the trouble is likely to escalate. “Nigeria is a powder keg right now, and we’ve seen increasing reports of churches being burned down, people being killed, and the reports just come and come and come. That’s what we’ve been hearing, and we really need to pray that peace will come to that country.”

Dykstra says while there is freedom to evangelize, evangelists and churches have come under fire from the extremist Muslims. Open Doors provides support to the church. “We do a lot of training in Nigeria of pastors. We train pastors how to actually approach this violence and persecution, so pastors bring those teachings their training to their churches and to their flocks.”

In a press release, Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller says, “Nigeria is a real volatile country,” adding, “This is a key country for the spread of Christianity throughout Africa. We need prayer warriors to pray for an end to the violence and the spread of Sharia law in Nigeria.”

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