Date: June 22, 2012
Threats From Boko Haram Raise Fears of Another Church Bombing, Attack on Children's Sunday School Raises Tensions
This week has been full of grief for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. Last Sunday, on Father's Day, yet another bombing attack on a church in Kaduna killed at least 3 children and severely wounded dozens more. This latest blow has struck right at the heartstrings of the Nigerian Christian community and our thoughts and prayers go out to them.
Emmanuel Ogebe, a consultant for Jubilee Campaign's Justice for Jos+ Project, has written a powerful blog post called "The Mourning After" in response to the attack. We encourage you to read it so that you can understand the trial which continues to face our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.
On Monday, the northeastern city of Damaturu was attacked by over 100 Boko Haram operatives. Bomb blasts hit high-profile targets all over the city and there are reports that schools have been burnt. Boko Haram means "western education is sacrilege" and the group has attacked schools before.
Also this week, the State Department finally designated Abubakar Shekau and two other leaders of Boko Haram as terrorists. While this is a step in the right direction, the State Department still refuses to designate the group as a whole a terrorist group despite urging from the Department of Justice and other members of the US intelligence community.
While we would like to think that the State Department is responding to the continued violence in Nigeria, this action is more likely a result of Congressional pressure in the form of H.R. 5822 and S. 3249, the House and Senate versions of the Boko Haram Terrorist Designation Act of 2012. How the State Department will justify acknowledging the terrorist status of the leaders of a group while denying the terrorist status of the group those leaders control remains to be seen.
Of more immediate concern to the Christians in Nigeria are the threats Boko Haram has made of continued violence. Boko Haram has even claimed to have 300 suicide bombers preparing to attack churches in Kaduna and Plateau States. We, along with many others who are following Nigeria, believe that another Sunday bombing is very likely and so we want to call on you to pray.
It is important to remember as we pray just how marvelous God's hand of protection has been. While the casualties have been grievous, week after week, they are nothing compared to what would happen if one of those powerful bombs had gone off inside of a packed sanctuary. The fact that no suicide bomber has ever been able to get into the sanctuary before detonating, despite the many attempts, is nothing short of a miracle.
Praise God for His protection and may He continue to watch over His people in Nigeria.
in HIS Grace and Peace