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Fulani militants - Photo: Voice of America
Fulani militants
Photo: Voice of America

An overnight attack that took place in the Nigerian village of Ta'agbe on November 26th left ten Christians dead, including three children. According to witnesses, the attackers were dressed in black, carried sophisticated weapons, and shouted Islamic slogans while slaughtering the residents of the village and burning homes. It is estimated that over 100 houses were destroyed, displacing 690 people.

Six of those killed were from a single family. "I lost my grandchildren for the sake of Christ," Sibi Gara said tearfully while lying in a hospital bed due to physical injuries caused by the attack. The governor of Plateau State is reportedly outraged over the unnecessary loss of life, pain and destruction that was inflicted on innocent villagers, and is calling for the arrest of those responsible. A Christian leader in the area believes that the attack is part of a campaign to wipe Christians from the region. In late October, a letter was sent by Fulani militants to Christian communities in the state warning of impending attacks if they did not evacuate their villages.

In the midst of the ongoing violence, organizations from around the world that are supporting persecuted Christians have expressed their dismay over a decision made by the United States Department of State to remove Nigeria from their list as a "Country of Particular Concern." Some commentators believe that the change may be related to the American government's attempts to strengthen its relations with Nigeria. The chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) responded to the recent news by stating: "We urge the State Department to reconsider its designations based on facts presented in its own reporting." To learn more about the difficulties experienced by Christians in Nigeria, and/or to view informative video documentaries, go to our country report.

Please remember in prayer the grieving families of those who have lost their lives in this latest attack, as well as the hundreds of villagers who have been terrorized and displaced from their homes and community. May God's reassuring presence provide needed comfort, healing and strength to all who are suffering as a result of loss – whether it be the loss of loved ones, health, homes and/or personal belongings. Pray that Nigeria's governing authorities will take effective action against militant groups to prevent them from terrorizing more innocent lives.

Current Ministry Projects

Through a vast variety of projects, VOMC works with in-country partners to encourage and strengthen Nigerian Christians who have experienced extreme forms of persecution. Christian widows receive trauma counselling to help them heal from the aftermath of tragically losing their husbands due to persecution-related attacks. These widows are also provided skills training so they can have a practical means of income to support their families. Children who have lost their parents and other relatives during incidents of persecution are provided a safe place in which to grow and be nurtured. Medical fees are paid for Christians who have suffered serious injuries perpetrated by militants affiliated with Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Fulani groups. Discipleship and vocational training are being offered to Muslim-background believers to help them start their new lives spiritually and practically.

The ministry also gives persecuted Christians who are completing their master's degrees – and have a desire to share the Gospel in their communities – the opportunity to benefit as recipients of the Glenn Penner Scholarship Award. Another one of VOMC’s projects in Nigeria involves the distribution of food aid to persecuted Christians residing within Internal Displacement Persons' (IDP) camps. Through this distribution effort, displaced believers who have been forced to flee their homes and communities because of their faith not only receive daily sustenance but also the encouragement that’s needed to rebuild their lives.

Project Funds: Women’s Ministry, Bibles (Distribution), Medical, Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Relief & Development

Country Information

Population
219,463,862 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Hausa (30), Yoruba (15.5), Igbo (15.2), Fulani (6), Tiv (2.4), Kanuri/Beriberi (2.4), Ibibio (1.8), Izaw/Izon (1.8), Other (24.7)

Religion (%)
Islam (53.5), Christianity (45.9), Other (0.6)

Leader
President Muhammadu Buhari (2015)

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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