Nigeria crisis response co-directors Carl and Roxane Hill have provided an update from recent events in northeast Nigeria, where some members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) have suffered repeat attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in recent days.
“Since Christmas many displaced persons had returned to their homes in northeast Nigeria,” the Hills report. “They had begun holding services outside burnt and destroyed churches. But last week Boko Haram again attacked some of the same areas causing another wave of confusion and terror.
“As one Nigerian told us, ‘I am getting more and more disturbed, confused, and traumatized as I hear the news. The cries of my Muslim and Christian communities in the North East has reached to a level of great concern.’”
Other recent reports from Nigerian Brethren include allegations that Nigerian men who are escaping the violence by running to the mountains in Cameroon are being killed by the Cameroonian army, and that there are no official camps for displaced people in Nigeria being organized by the Nigerian government. Displaced people are staying with families and friends, and in uncompleted buildings, schools, mosques, and churches. “Facilities everywhere are overused and virtually every church and mosque has turned into an IDP camp,” the Hills report--making the Brethren effort to establish temporary housing for displaced people even more crucial at this time.
The Hills ask the American church to continue in prayer and support for Nigeria: “Pray for the people of Nigeria as they face this continuing crisis. Pray also that the assistance the US church is providing can be used to strengthen the church and its people in Nigeria. Special prayers for all those who have lost family members.”
Nigerian Baptist leader critiques lack of international response
In related news, a Nigerian Baptist leader has castigated the international community for ignoring the plight of people suffering extreme insurgent violence in northeast Nigeria, while attention is being paid to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places.
“My consternation is in the attitude of the international community toward the huge destruction going on in Nigeria. The earnestness with which they intervened in the ISIL attack in Syria and Iraq, or the Taliban problem in Afghanistan, etc., is not shown in the case of Nigeria,” said Samson Ayokunle, president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC), the largest Baptist World Alliance member organization in Africa with approximately 3.5 million members in some 10,000 churches.
He accused the world community of devaluing Nigerian lives. “Does it not matter to the rest of the world if Boko Haram continues to kill hundreds of people every week? Are these people less human than those being killed in other place where they have gone to directly intervene? My people are being killed like animals and the whole world is just watching.”
Read the full release from the Baptist World Alliance at www.bwanet.org/news/news-releases/452-nigeria-terrorism .