Nigeria (MNN) — Nigeria now holds the most Islamic State violence globally, according to a new report from Jihad Analytics. For the first time in the Islamic State’s history, Iraq is no longer the place where it has the most activity.
ISWAP, the Islamic State affiliate responsible for attacks in Nigeria, appears well on its way to building a caliphate. “I think that’s absolutely the agenda,” Greg Kelley of World Mission says.
“They’re essentially eliminating Christianity in northern Nigeria.”
Government negligence is paving the way for a terrorist stronghold. “Last week, 140 people were killed in four villages in the northern part [of the country]. The government did absolutely nothing about it,” Kelley says.
“Homes were burnt to the ground; 140 people were butchered, and the government’s not talking about it. They want to sweep it under the rug.”
According to Joseph V. Micallef, United States military author and historian, Nigeria presents a prime opportunity:
If a new Islamic State “territorial caliphate” emerges, it is likely to do so in Africa. With Washington now focused on geopolitical, economic, and military competition with China and Russia, and with little American or European appetite for continuing the “whack a mole” global fight against jihadists, the likelihood of a new ISIS-like state in sub-Saharan Africa is a very real possibility.
World Mission partners with local believers to reach northern Nigeria for Christ.
“They (local believers) speak the language they love Jesus, and most importantly, they have a passion for unreached people groups,” Kelley says.
“We send in solar-powered audio Bibles that have the languages of the people there: Fulani, Hausa, Canary — different unreached people groups that are less than one-percent Christian. That is the exclusive work of World Mission because the Gospel has not been there.”
Displacement camps in northern Nigeria present Gospel opportunities. “What you see is thousands of people who lost everything. They’re traumatized and looking for help; their hearts are open to the Gospel,” Kelley says.
“People are coming to know Jesus amid this chaos and carnage inside Nigeria.”
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Header image courtesy of The Voice of the Martyrs USA.