Around 300 Christians have been killed in one diocese alone, and 27 people died in attacks on three church services as anti-Christian violence in Nigeria continues unabated.
The Rt Rev Timothy Yahaya, Bishop of Jalingo, Taraba State, in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, told Barnabas Aid that 300 Christians have been killed in his diocese in a series of incidents over the last three weeks.
Then on Sunday (29 April), three church services in Northern Nigeria were targeted in attacks that left 27 people dead.
The first happened when people had gathered for worship in two lecture theatres at Bayero University in Kano. So far 22 people are confirmed to have died, while 23 were injured, after bombs were thrown into the building at around 8.30 a.m. and gunmen fired on worshippers. Witnesses said that the offenders first threw in explosives and fired shots, and as Christians fled, the gunmen chased them, firing indiscriminately.
Later on Sunday, gunmen opened fire on another church in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri. Five people, including a pastor, were killed in the attack at the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) building.
War on Christians
Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for Sunday’s church attacks, but most people suspect militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which in March declared “war” on Christians.
This statement followed a three-day deadline, issued by the group on New Year’s Day, for Christians to leave the North. Unrelenting attacks have ensued, including the bombing of a number of churches as well as attacks on individual Christians.
Around 40 people were killed in a suicide bombing outside two churches during Easter services in Kaduna.
And two churches in the central Nigerian city of Jos were targeted in the space of two weeks; a pregnant woman and an 18-month-old child were among those killed.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid, said:
The simple act of going to church on a Sunday has become a perilous one for Christians in many parts of Nigeria. They very much need our prayers as they courageously continue to gather for worship despite the unrelenting violence.
If you would like to help Christians in Nigeria and elsewhere who have been affected by anti-Christian violence, please send your donation to project Victims of Violence Fund (00-345). Donate Online using our secure server.
If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference Victims of Violence Fund (00-345).
If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference Victims of Violence Fund (00-345).
For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/345 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).
- For all those who have lost loved ones or been injured in the anti-Christian violence in Nigeria this year; pray that the Lord, who “heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3), will comfort them.
- That the authorities will be able to restrain Boko Haram and others in Nigeria who have evil and destructive intent, and bring the perpetrators of violence to justice.
- That the Lord will grant wisdom to Nigerian Christians as they consider how to respond to the violence and practise their faith in such a hostile environment. Pray that they will be protected from further harm.