Date: January 11, 2023
Nigeria (MNN) — On Christmas Day, Islamic extremists attacked a church service in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Attackers drove up on motorbikes, killing one Christian and kidnapping 53. A week earlier, Fulani herdsmen killed 40 Christians and burned down 100 houses.
Why didn’t these tragedies appear in the headlines? Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs USA says, “In some ways, it shows how far away Nigeria is for most Americans, particularly Americans in the media industry. But the heartbreaking thing is that this has become so common in northern Nigeria. If you’re a news producer, it’s not a story. It’s another day in Nigeria.”
In 2022 alone, Fulani groups killed more than 6,000 Christians. The violence has driven 2 million people from their homes.
Extremists want to control Northern Nigeria, essentially splitting the country in two. A 2023 presidential election could determine the Nigerian government’s response. Nettleton says, “Does that lead to more unrest? Does it lead to more violence? Who’s going to be elected as the President? Who’s going to lead the country? Those are huge questions for the people of Nigeria and also for those of us who care about Nigeria and care about Christians.”
“The presidential election is in February. Then there are local and governor elections in March.”
Extremist groups in the region often use ransoms as a way of bringing in income. Nettleton says, “Certainly, that should rise to the top of our prayer list. ‘Lord, protect those who have been kidnapped; somehow rescue them. Lead them away from their kidnappers. Allow them to escape.”
Many villages have no Christians now since they fled the attacks.
Ask God to change hearts among the attackers.
The header photo shows Kaduna State highlighted in red. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)