West Africa News

  • Increased Violence Against Christians

    Two Christian brothers, Ushahemba and Sughter Kumashenge, were ambushed and killed by Fulani militants on Saturday, August 22nd. The incident occurred on their farm in Taraba state, lending to concerns that militants in Nigeria's middle belt -- consisting of Kaduna, Taraba, Benue and Nasarawa states -- are joining forces with jihadists for the specific purpose of driving out Christians.

    Over the summer, the violent attacks had intensified throughout northern Nigeria and its neighbouring country of Cameroon, causing some Christians in affected areas to refrain from attending church. On Saturday, July 25th, a 12-year-old girl detonated a suicide bomb within a crowded area in Maroua, northern Cameroon, killing 20 people and injuring 79 others. The following Friday, July 31st, six people died and eleven were injured in a massive bomb explosion at a market in Maiduguri, Nigeria -- the traditional heartland of the Nigerian violence.

    Churches in Cameroon are presently struggling to contain the influx of approximately 60,000 Nigerian refugees and thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs). "The level of attendance has also fallen in various churches," explains Rev. Samuel Heteck, President of the Protestant Churches' Council in Northern Cameroon. "We have observed a lack of concentration among some worshippers during recent services as their ears remain attentive to any movement outside."

    Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari visited Cameroon at the end of July in order to bolster collaborative efforts against the notorious Boko Haram terrorist group. Fortunately, the Nigerian military reported on August 2nd that they had rescued 178 people, including 101 children, all of whom had been taken captive by Boko Haram in the Nigerian state of Borno. To learn more about persecution in Nigeria, click here.

    In the aftermath of recent attacks, we ask the Lord to minister healing to all who were injured and provide comfort to those who are now mourning the loss of loved ones. May He also calm the violence in these affected regions and alleviate mounting fears. As religious and political leaders make difficult decisions in their efforts to resolve the country's crisis, pray for God to grant them wisdom and clear direction so that all those whom they govern may be able to live "peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (1 Timothy 2:2).