From reports by EYN staff
“In skeletal information reaching us from Garkida, three churches were set ablaze, five people killed, and five people are missing in a Boko Haram attack,” reported Zakariya Musa, head of media for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Garkida, a town in the Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa State in northeast Nigeria, is the site of the founding of EYN and the place where the former Church of the Brethren mission in Nigeria began.
According to church officials the attackers invaded Garkida on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, Musa reported, burning several churches including EYN Ghung, EYN Sangere, and Living Faith Church Garkida. “The Living faith Church was rebuilt after the Feb. 21 attack on Garkida when four churches were destroyed in similar attack,” he wrote. “The church said they spent Christmas Eve in the bush and that some houses were selectively burned.” Also burned were road construction facilities on the Biu Road.
In another Christmas Eve attack, “Pemi village was stormed by Boko Haram,” Musa reported. “According to church officials, seven people were killed, an EYN church and many houses were burnt, and one evangelist named Bulus Yakura was abducted. A church official who spoke on the phone from Mbalala in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, who was in the village the following morning on Dec. 25 for assessment, said people have fled Pemi village for their life. Many villagers in the areas of attack abandoned their villages on Christmas Eve after finishing all preparations for Christmas.”
At least three more communities along the Biu Road were attacked the day after Christmas, Dec. 26. Musa reported: “Three more churches and many houses are destroyed at Tashan Alade, Kirbitu, and Debiro towns…. The destroyed churches include churches that were destroyed in 2014, which later were rebuilt by the Borno State Government. The renewed attacks are coming almost on a daily basis in different ways, resulting in killings, kidnapping, destruction of properties.”
In a separate email Yuguda Z. Mdurvwa, who heads up EYN’s Disaster Relief Ministry, reported that the EYN Dzur church on the outskirts of Garkida also was burned in the Christmas Eve attack. He added that drugs were looted from the Garkida General Hospital and other stores and food stuffs were looted. In addition to the five people who were killed, “many sustained injuries,” he wrote, and “people slept in the mountains without celebrating Christmas.
“Our hope is that Christ was born to save us from all these pains and give us peace,” Mdurvwa wrote. “Apart from the above insecurity, COVID-19 is surging in the second wave, Nigeria is recording above 1,000 per day. Despite our troubles, God is our comforter and our source of help.”