“It is awful,” wrote Rebecca Dali, a leading member of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) in a text on Saturday. At the time she was in Chibok meeting with parents of the abducted schoolgirls, when the Boko Haram extremist insurgents began attacking nearby villages.
Dali, who is married to EYN president Samuel Dante Dali, has founded the Center for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI) to aid those affected by the violence in Nigeria. She and CCEPI have visited with and brought aid to the parents of the schoolgirls abducted from Chibok in mid-April, most of whom are from EYN.
Dali texted: “Right now CCEPI is in Chibox with 181 parents of the 189 registered Chibox girls. Pray for us because Boko Haram is attacking three villages less than five kilometers away from where we are. Parents from these villages are trapped. They [Boko Haram] killed more than 27 people. It is awful.”
In related news from EYN, the church at Maiduguri provided relief materials to 3,456 refugees last week, according to Zakariya Musa, who provided a picture of the crowd of refugees receiving help. He is secretary of “Sabon Haske,” an EYN publication.
Church of the Brethren mission worker Carol Smith reported by e-mail today that she is fine, following a bombing in the capital city of Abuja where she is serving with EYN. She lives in a different part of the city than the shopping mall that was bombed today.
Multiple incidents of violence since the weekend
Since last weekend, multiple incidents of violence have hit different parts of north and central Nigeria, in addition to the kidnappings and killings in the area near Chibok.
Today a bombing at an upscale shopping mall in Abuja, in central Nigeria, killed at least 21 people and injured 17, according to media reports. The Associated Press and ABC News reported that the explosion is blamed on the Boko Haram insurgents, and may have been timed during the World Cup match in Brazil in which Nigeria played Argentina. “Witnesses said body parts were scattered around the exit to Emab Plaza, in Abuja's upscale Wuse 2 suburb. One witness said he thought the bomb was dropped at the entrance to the mall by a motorcyclist.... Soldiers shot and killed one suspect as he tried to escape on a power bike and police detained a second suspect,” the report said. Read it at http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/explosion-rocks-mall-nigerian-capital-24298236 .
Yesterday, at least 21 soldiers and 5 civilians were attacked and killed and other people abducted at a military checkpoint near Damboa, some 85 kilometers from the northeastern city of Maiduguri, the AP report added.
On Monday, a bombing at a medical school in the city of Kano killed at least 8 people and wounded at least 12, according to the Associated Press and ABC News.
Also on Monday night 38 people were killed in two villages in the Kaduna area, in an attack by gunmen, reported by the “Premium Times” and posted on AllAfrica.com. The newspaper noted that “the attack is believed be more out of ethno-communal crisis in the area, which borders Plateau State, than by terrorists.”
On Saturday the number of people kidnapped by Boko Haram was between 60 and 91 women, girls, and boys, according to media reports, which varied widely. The people were abducted from a village in Borno State in Damboa area, and some villages in the Askira/Uba area which shares a border with Chibok, said one report posted on AllAfrica.com. As few as 4 village men and as many as 33 were reported killed in the attack, and at least one village reportedly completely destroyed. Another media report said the abductions took place over a few days. A vigilante group fighting Boko Haram claimed to have killed some 25 of the attackers. However, Nigerian security forces and some politicians have denied or are unable to confirm the weekend attacks and kidnappings, reports added. A Voice of America report included a timeline of major incidents of Boko Haram violence in Nigeria beginning in 2009 to the present, find it at http://allafrica.com/stories/201406241618.html?viewall=1 .
General secretary, Global Mission executive call for continued prayer
Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger and Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service, sent an e-mail message to the district offices and denominational leaders sharing Rebecca Dali’s note and calling for continued prayer for Nigeria.
“Take time right now to pray for this situation,” the e-mail said. “Share this news of this situation and the ongoing violence in Nigeria with your congregation during worship tomorrow. The season of prayer and fasting has not come to an end. Encourage members of your congregations to send notes and cards of encouragement and support to sisters and brothers in Nigeria, with your Annual Conference delegates. They will have a special time to gather this offering of words.”
The communication closed with Psalm 46, a scripture that had been shared at a gathering of church leaders in the Middle East to consider the violence in Syria and the situation of refugees from that conflict, and the phrase, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” from Matthew 5:9.
Contributions toward the relief effort and the continuing mission work in Nigeria are received to the Global Mission and Service Nigeria program https://secure2.convio.net/cob/site/Donation2?df_id=1660&1660.donation=form1 , the EYN Compassion Fund www.brethren.org/eyncompassion , or the Emergency Disaster Fund www.brethren.org/edf .