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Uka Joseph, Sunday, Wilson, Joshua Maidugu, Garba Yusuf
Pray for the grieving families of the young men whose execution was recorded by the terrorist group.

Two separate attacks have led to kidnappings and at least twelve deaths in Nigeria over the Christmas season. In both cases, Islamic militant groups were responsible for the assaults.

On Christmas Eve, at least seven people were killed when Boko Haram militants raided a mostly Christian village in Borno State. The terrorist fighters rode into the village of Pemi on trucks and motorcycles, shooting indiscriminately. Several homes were burned, along with a medical dispensary and a church building. At least seven villagers died, and as many as seven were reportedly abducted, including the pastor of the Evangelical Church of the Brethren.

Pemi is located approximately 20 kilometres from Chibok, the town where over 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped six years ago. A spokesman for the Chibok region believes that Pemi was specifically targeted because of its Christian population. "Since 2018, virtually every two weeks, Boko Haram has been attacking Chibok, killing and abducting people," Nkeki Mutah reports. "They want to wipe Chibok out from the surface of the earth."

Additional incidences took place on December 24th in the town of Garkida, northeast Nigeria, where the kidnapping of eleven Christians took place. Reports indicate that five vehicles transporting the insurgents entered the town, leading to an onslaught of looting, burning and shooting. The next day, a video was released showing five of the kidnapped community members being executed.

A splinter group of Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has claimed responsibility. In the video posted online, the assailants declare, "This is a warning to Christians in all parts of the world and those in Nigeria." Before each young man was shot from behind, they were given the opportunity to state their names: Uka Joseph, Sunday, Wilson, Joshua Maidugu and Garba Yusuf. Each of the young men's last words included the declaration: "I am a Christian." Greg Musselman has prepared a video report on this tragedy, leading us in prayer for the grieving families and community members of these five martyred believers. You can view the report here.

As you remember the courage and faithfulness of these martyred Christians, please also prayerfully uphold their families and friends during this time of mourning. May the lives and words of the young men serve as ongoing testimonies to their attackers, bringing conviction to their hearts and ultimately leading them to faith in Christ. Pray that Nigeria's governing authorities will wisely and diligently work to thwart any potential future attacks planned by the various militant groups -- achieving needed safety, peace and stability throughout the country.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC works with in-country partners to encourage and strengthen persecuted Christians through a variety of methods. Christian widows receive skills training and trauma counselling as a way to provide an income for their families and heal from the trauma they’ve faced in losing their husbands. Children who have lost parents and relatives due to attacks are provided with a safe place to grow and be nurtured. Medical fees are paid for Christians who have suffered injuries due to attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani. Discipleship and vocational training are given to Muslim Background Believers to help them start their new lives spiritually and practically. The Glenn Penner Scholarship Award is used to help equip persecuted Christians completing their master's degrees and have a heart to share the Gospel with the lost in their community. Food aid is also provided to persecuted Christians living in IDP camps throughout Nigeria as an opportunity to encourage them and help them rebuild their lives.

Project Funds: Women’s Ministry, Bibles, VOM Medical, Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Relief and Development

Country Information

Population
203,452,505 (July 2018 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Hausa (27.4), Igbo (14.1), Yoruba (13.9), Fulani (6.3), Tiv (2.2), Ibibio (2.2), Izaw/Izon (2), Kanuri/Beriberi (1.7), Igala (1), Other (28.9)

Religion (%)
Islam (51.8), Christianity (46.9), Traditionalist (0.9), Unspecified (0.5)

Leader
President Muhammadu Buhari

Government type
Federal presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law (in 12 northern states), and traditional law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Nigeria

May God minister great comfort and healing to all who have been injured or bereaved as a result of the militants' brutal attacks. In addition, pray for the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls, that they will be assured of the Lord's abiding presence as they await release from captivity. Continue to uphold President Buhari and other members of the Nigerian government as they make further attempts to rescue the remaining girls and provide protection for vulnerable citizens. As they persevere in their endeavours to overcome terrorism, may they be granted wisdom, courage, strength and help from on high.

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