Missionaries resume work in Northern Nigeria after evacuation.

By March 10, 2006

Nigeria (MNN)–A week after riots forced the evacuation of Christian Reformed missionaries from Northern Nigeria, the team is home and back to work.

At the peak of the riots, Larry and Rose van Zee of Pella, Iowa, Dave and Jan Dykgraaf, of Grand Rapids, Mich., Christian Reformed World Relief (CRWRC) staff member Jeremiah Yongo, and 12 families of Nigerian Christians evacuated their homes.

After meeting with Muslim officials, the group returned to their ministry sites in Niger State on March 7th. Local authorities promised to take action against rioters and invited the believers who fled the area to return.

According to information on the CRC website, there was pressure to see this through from strong political forces. Nigeria Field Leader Albert Strydhorst explains that in one case, “The chief of Ragada [a town in northwestern Nigeria], held a meeting on the order of the Chairman of the Mariga [a town] local government, who had been ordered to do so by the state governor.”

The meeting resulted in a promise to arrest those involved in burning a Christian Reformed Church last week, and to compensate them for the loss of church property.

Their willingness to recognize Christians in the area led to a promise from the pastoral leaders that believers would not retaliate.

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