"Save your people, God!" (Psalm 28:9a, CEB).
Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries this week have received new reports from Samuel Dali, president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).
EYN closes 26 of 50 district councils, reports 3,038 members killed
Dali shared a report he gave to the Christian Association of Nigeria yesterday, Sept. 29, enumerating losses experienced by EYN and warning of the possibility of “genocide” of Christians in northern Nigeria. He reported that terrorist attacks on some villages including places well known to Brethren--Chibok, Garkida, Lassa, and more--are happening weekly, with little or no resistance from the available security agents.
“EYN is severely damaged by the terrorists in many ways,” Dali wrote in a follow up e-mail. “The whole Lardin Gabas, the historical center of EYN, has been almost destroyed. So, continue to pray so that the Lord can increase our faith and give the strength to bear the suffering.”
Up to the time of his report, “no one can tell you what exactly is the situation in the areas controlled by the Boko Haram fighters,” Dali wrote. “Since they took control of the areas, the people they have killed [are] still uncounted and not buried.”
He reported that “Gwoza, Madagali, Gulak, Michika, and Bazza are still under the control of the terrorists.”
Dali added that he has been traveling to visit and help families find safe places, and to attend meetings since the EYN Headquarters was evacuated in August. He signed his e-mail, “Yours...in deep pain.”
The EYN president’s report to the Christian Association of Nigeria enumerated the denomination’s losses:
“Today as I am speaking, 26 out of the 50 EYN District Church Councils, together with its 156 local church council or parishes, have been closed down. 70 out of the 156 local church councils and 21 local church branches have been burnt down completely. In addition over 2,287 houses belonging to our members have been burnt down included their properties such as food stuff. Also, we have on record: over 3,038 of our members who have so far been killed and 8 pastors that were also killed. In addition, 180 of our members have been kidnapped.”
As a result, Dali reported, 280 EYN pastors and evangelists are now displaced without work or any source of income to feed their families. They are among the 96, 000 Nigerian Brethren who have been displaced “from their ancestral native lands.” The displaced church members are now homeless, living as refugees in Cameroon or displaced in other parts of Nigerian including the states of Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Plateau, Nasarawa, and Abuja.
The full report to the Christian Association of Nigeria:
Damages done to the EYN-Church of the Brethren by the Boko Haram in the Northeastern Nigeria: Presented to CAN by THE PRESIDENT OF THE EKKLESIYA YAN’UWA A NIGERIA, REV. DR. SAMUEL DANTE DALI, on the 29th September 2014
Distinguished members of CAN, it is with a deep pain and great sadness that I am presenting to this brief report on the damages done by Boko Haram on EYN-Church of the Brethren.
The EYN-Church of the Brethren was first established as a rural church at Garkida on the 17th of March, 1923, through the work of the Church of the Brethren missionaries from the United States of America [USA]. However, today, EYN is one of the predominant churches not only in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States, but has also spread to major cities in Nigeria like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kano, Jos, Kaduna, and Zaria. EYN is also an international church with branches in the Cameroon, Niger, and Togo.
In line with the tradition of her founding fathers, EYN-Church of the Brethren in Nigeria is also a member of a global historical peace churches whose main objective had been how to ensure justice and peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims in Northern Nigeria.
In spite of our peace loving nature, EYN church is the greatest single denomination that the Islamic fundamentalists, the so called Boko Haram group, has almost successfully wiped out of existence in many Local Government Areas of Borno, part of Yobe and Adamawa States. Today as I am speaking, 26 out of the 50 EYN District Church Councils, together with its 156 local church council or parishes, have been closed down. 70 out of the 156 local church councils and 21 local church branches have been burnt down completely. In addition over 2,287 houses belonging to our members have been burnt down included their properties such as food stuff.
Also, we have on record: over 3,038 of our members who have so far been killed and 8 pastors that were also killed. In addition, 180 of our members have been kidnapped including a pastor and pregnant wife of another pastor with three of her children were kidnapped. It may also interest you to know that 178 out of the total Chibok school girls that were kidnapped are children of EYN members.
As a result of this mayhem, 280 of our pastors and evangelists are now displaced without work and any sources of income to feed their families. Also, 96, 000 of our members including women and children have been displaced from their ancestral native lands. The displaced members are now homeless, living as refugees in Cameroon and other parts of some States like Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Plateau, Nasarawa and Abuja.
The destruction of properties and the kidnapping of children, women, church leaders, and school girls have increased to potentially leading to genocide of Christians in Northern Nigeria in general and in particular, the members of EYN community in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States.
The terrorist attacks on some villages such as Gwoza area, Madagali, Gulak, Chibok, Damatru, Dambowa, Garkida, Biu, Kwajafa District, Shaffa, Shedufu, Kwayakusar, Gombi, Zurin in Hong Mubi, Delle, Lassa, Michika, and Shaffa are becoming weekly and endless, with no or little resistance from the available security agents. The people living in these areas are living in fear and under constant threat of fresh attack.
To make things worse, these people cannot go to their farms, as those who attempt were killed or chased away. Thousands of their children cannot go to school and that means the future of these children may be lost.
The records of the recent attack on Madagali, Gulak, Delle, Lassa, Michika, Bazza, Husara, Shaffa Shedufu, and Tarku are not yet part of this sad story. Some of these areas are still under the control of the terrorists and their dead bodies are yet to be buried.
My dear brothers and sister, what amounts of compensation or relief can anyone provide to comfort these communities? Maybe the most important questions should be when will this madness stop? What is Nigeria’s government doing to protect and save the lives of the remnant? And what are we doing as national and global members of Christ’s body? May God have mercy on us, the victims and the victors.
-- To contribute to the relief effort in Nigeria, give to the Emergency Disaster Fund online at www.brethren.org/edf or by mail to Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120. To contribute to the Church of the Brethren mission in Nigeria give online at www.brethren.org/nigeria .