Nigerian Brethren Die in More Violent Attacks on Communities, Churches

Photo by courtesy of Jay Wittmeyer
A Nigerian woman stands in the ruins of a destroyed building. Brethren in the United States are making efforts to support and encourage Nigerian Brethren in the face of continuing violence.

Leaders of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) have reported recent violent attacks that have taken lives of church members and destroyed many homes and some churches in northeastern Nigeria. The Global Mission and Service office requests prayer for people who have lost loved ones, those who have lost their homes and churches, and for EYN and its leaders.

Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service, is sending a grant of $10,000 to the EYN fund that aids church members affected by the ongoing violence, and is requesting donations to the EYN Compassion Fund at
. “Remember the need in Nigeria,” he said.

Attacks on Nigerian Brethren have occurred during a violent struggle between extremist Islamist sect Boko Haram, which began terrorist operations in northern Nigeria around 2009, and a crackdown by the Nigerian government and army, which also has been accused of civil rights abuses. For years prior to Boko Haram, northern Nigeria had episodes of civil conflict and rioting that destroyed mosques and churches and killed many including pastors in several major cities.

Attack on the community of Gavva West

Seven people were killed and 75 houses were burned on Sept. 27 in an attack on Gavva West, a community near the border with Cameroon. EYN reported this was the tenth attack on Gavva West. Wittmeyer noted that this also is the home area of EYN’s past president Filibus Gwama.

The detailed report from EYN was based on the reports of five people who fled. Included in the list of the dead were two children age 6 and 8 who died in one of the houses that were burned, and one baby who died “on the run.”

The owners of the burned houses were all named in the EYN report, as were all the adults who were killed. In addition, a shop was looted, a car and several motorcycles were burned, and other motorcycles were stolen by the attackers.

The EYN report said most people “fled to nearby villages and unknown hideouts. One of the refugees told us they are in desperate need of food.”

Another attack affects Brethren in Barawa

The EYN report listed another attack in Barawa, in the eastern part of Gwoza, Borno State. One church member was killed, two EYN churches and a preaching point were burned, and 19 houses were burned including a pastor’s. The attack also affected other churches. In total, the report said, “about 8,000 people fled Barawa area where 9 churches [and] 400 houses burnt.”

For more about the church’s ministry in Nigeria go to . For an overview of the effects of terrorist violence on EYN as of February 2013, go to . To contribute to the EYN Compassion Fund go to .

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