“Christ is just like the human body…. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it” (1 Corinthians 12:12a, 26, CEB).
Prayer is requested for the students and staff of Kulp Bible College (KBC), and the leadership of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), as the decision has been made to temporarily close the college. Students will be leaving for other areas of the country, and headquarters staff also may be making ready to leave as Boko Haram forces advance to within 50 kilometers of the EYN headquarters.
KBC and the EYN headquarters are located in northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” is an insurgent Islamist group that has been carrying out terrorist type violence aimed at creating a “pure Islamic state.”
In related news, Brethren Disaster Ministries is directing a grant of $20,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) for a joint response by the Church of the Brethren and EYN. This funding will begin a pilot project focused on building temporary care centers for displaced EYN families. (More about this grant will appear in the next regularly scheduled issue of Newsline on Aug. 9.)
EYN leaders report worsening situation close to church headquarters
This update from EYN came earlier today in a telephone call from EYN president Samuel Dali to Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger. Also on the call was the president’s wife Rebecca Dali, who attended this summer’s Church of the Brethren Annual Conference.
Noffsinger reported that the Dalis shared several more points of information, including that the Boko Haram violence has been getting worse every day, and that people are fleeing the area by the thousands.
Among recent attacks in the area was one in which Boko Haram took over a major army base, and subsequently killed some 300 people, the Dalis told Noffsinger.
Also, more EYN churches have been burned down by the insurgents, they said.
Each night at the EYN headquarters, the staff and their families go to bed in fear for their lives, prepared to flee if an attack comes during the hours of darkness, the Dalis told Noffsinger.
Nigeria media report Boko Haram advances near Maiduguri
This report from EYN comes at the end of a week of Nigerian media reports of Boko Haram advances farther north, where it has taken over the town of Bama, and an offensive against the large city of Maiduguri is feared.
Maiduguri is the city where the largest congregation of EYN is located, with thousands of members.
Nigerian news sources report refugees pouring into Maiduguri from nearby towns that have been attacked by Boko Haram, while hundreds of people have begun fleeing Maiduguri in fear of an assault there.
At the same time, Boko Haram also has begun attacking villages across the border in Cameroon, where Nigerian soldiers attempting to fight the insurgents also fled for safety in a couple of incidents in recent days.
See one of the latest Associated Press reports from Nigeria at www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/09/05/hundreds_flee_nigerian_city_as_boko_haram_advances.html .
For more information, and how to help
Prayer resources, more information about EYN, and more about the history of the Church of the Brethren mission in Nigeria, are linked at www.brethren.org/partners/nigeria .
Find the 2014 Annual Conference resolution on the violence in Nigeria at www.brethren.org/news/2014/delegates-adopt-nigeria-resolution.html .
To give to the Emergency Disaster Fund in support of relief efforts for Nigerians fleeing the violence, go to www.brethren.org/edf .