Nigeria (ODM/MNN) — Boko Haram terrorism in northern Nigeria is shaking the Church. According to Open Doors USA sources, an unknown number of believers were killed in a violent school attack earlier this week that claimed at least 59 lives.
Nigeria is now considering the temporary shut-down of all government schools in three northeastern states as a result, according to a report on AllAfrica.com. Authorities told THISDAY, the source of the report, that they were “seriously shocked” by the degree of violence used in this assault.
“It does not make any sense to keep the schools open,” the ministry source told THISDAY. “Education is important, yes, but in these circumstances it is no longer primary. Safety of their children’s lives comes first for all parents.”
After arriving in six vans in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, attackers separated the male and female students before shooting some of the male students. Terrorists slit the throats of others and locked some into buildings before burning them down.
“Some of the students’ bodies were burned to ashes,” Police Commissioner Sanusi Rufai told reporters.
The Federal Government College of Buni Yadi’s 24 school buildings, including staff quarters, were all reduced to ashes. Government officials say no staff members or female students fell victim.
One student who narrowly escaped told an Open Doors worker over the phone: “I heard the cries of some people outside the school even before they [Boko Haram] invaded the school.
“I suspected that they caught some people on their way to the school, and I sensed danger. So I jumped over the fence of the school and crawled into a ditch and stayed there praying and listening. From where I was hiding, I could hear other students crying at the top of their voices. I saw fire on the roofs of the hostels and other buildings in the school.
“I was also counting myself among the dead because some attackers came from behind, and I heard them passing very close to where I was hiding. But God saved my life. After they killed the students and burned the structures, they fled.”
Although reports vary widely, local sources told Open Doors that more than 100 children were killed. Local church leaders also told Open Doors that there are an unknown number of Christians among the deceased.
The attacked school has been closed, and surviving students have been sent home. Tuesday’s attack was reportedly the fourth Boko Haram raid in the past year on schools in Yobe state.
Pray for all families affected, for peace and healing. Parents from different parts of the region streamed to the area to see if their children survived. Witnesses told Open Doors that people could be seen in the town crying uncontrollably at the sight of the destruction.
In spite of the increased security presence in parts of Yobe, Adamawa, and Borno states, Boko Haram attacks continue unabated. Pray for wisdom and courage for the government to take the necessary action.
Pray for the brave but shaken church in Yobe. Open Doors had only recently visited Damaturu and witnessed widespread destruction from the continuing Boko Haram insurgency. Seeing the huge number of casualties among Christians in the persistent attacks, many have opted to leave. This exodus is eroding the Church.