By Elizabeth Kendal
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) 188
Special to ASSIST News Service
AUSTRALIA (ANS) -- As was reported in RLPB 187 (28 Nov), up to 20 Christians were killed and dozens wounded on Sunday 25 November in a twin suicide bombing at St Andrew's Protestant Church inside the Jaji military barracks in Kaduna. Investigations indicate that the bombers may have been residents of the barracks and might have built the bomb on site, which would explain why they were granted access to the church without being searched. This raises fears that other military establishments could be similarly targeted. That same week Boko Haram gunmen attacked the headquarters of the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Abuja, freeing 30 detainees and killing two policemen. Guards were under strict orders not to shoot. But Nigeria is at war! In Boko Haram's own words (29 November): 'Jihad [holy war] started now, jihad started now, O enemies of Allah.'
On Saturday night 1 December a band of jihadists attacked Kupwal, a remote village in Chibok Local Government Area (LGA). (That is about 160km south of the Boko Haram stronghold of Maiduguri in Borno, Nigeria's most north-eastern state.) They invaded the Christian district and according to survivors entered 'carefully selected' homes, slitting the throats of the occupants. They then set fire to homes and sacked the whole neighborhood to chants of 'Allahu Akbar' (Allah is the greatest). [See: Qur'an, Sura 7:4] At least 10 people were killed whilst dozens escaped with serious and life-threatening injuries. Observers believe Boko Haram was either responsible or at least complicit.
On Sunday morning 2 December, some 50 Islamic gunmen in cars and on motorbikes attacked a police station, immigration and customs offices and three churches in Gamboru Ngala, Ngala LGA. (That is 140km north of Maiduguri, Borno State, near the border with Cameroon.) Before launching their attack, the jihadists destroyed the mobile phone masts to prevent communication and so compound the crisis. With shouts of 'Allahu Akbar' they opened fire on police, killing five. The churches were torched and Christians living and doing business in the border town were targeted. About two weeks earlier, leaflets had been distributed in which the Islamists declared their intention to impose Taliban-style rule, e.g., women were told to wear the veil and cigarettes were banned. A tailor was subsequently shot for continuing to make clothing the Islamists deemed un-Islamic.
In a 30 November column, author and analyst Raymond Ibrahim explained why persecution such as that described above is 'Islam's Achilles' heel'. Persecution committed by dominant Muslims in Muslim communities -- i.e. Muslims who cannot claim to be 'oppressed' or 'aggrieved' -- against vulnerable minority Christians is simply impossible to justify. Such persecution exposes Islam as supremacist, totalitarian, intolerant and imperialistic; as a movement that will not rest until the 'other' is totally subjugated. 'And to Allah prostrates whoever is within the heavens and the earth, willingly or by compulsion, and their shadows [as well] in the mornings and the afternoons.' (Qur'an, Sura 13:15)
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL --
- rise up on behalf of his traumatized and terrorized people and intervene to rout the enemy and deliver his Church.
'And he [King David] said, "The LORD has burst through my enemies [the Philistines] before me like a bursting flood." Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim [the Lord who bursts through]' (2 Samuel 5:20b ESV).
- bring healing and comfort to his bleeding, broken and grieving people; may he provide all their needs and make his loving presence felt so as to sustain their sorely-tested faith, that they might be 'more than conquerors through him who loved us' (from Romans 8:31-39 ESV).
- give the Nigerian authorities divine wisdom and insight, strength and commitment that they might excel in their battle against the enemies of the state and the enemies of the LORD.
- re-assure the church in northern Nigeria of his protection who is their 'strong city' (Isaiah 26:1). May the church in the south, and indeed the rest of the world, join this battle by praying for the north (Romans 15:30; 2 Corinthians 1:11).
- bless every Nigerian missionary and every witnessing Nigerian with divine courage and power from the Holy Spirit, for this is first and foremost a spiritual struggle (Ephesians 6:12).