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NIGERIA: Children in Crisis Care

NIGERIA: Children in Crisis Care

Nigeria is sharply divided along religious lines with a Muslim dominated north and a majority-Christian south.

Fulani herdsmen, a tribe known for its adherence to strict Islam have attacked Christian villages for many years, and in the last two years they have committed more acts of extreme violence against Christians than any other group globally. In recent months there have been brutal attacks on villages in southern Kaduna State, north-west Nigeria. The attacks are led by rogue Fulani with sophisticated weapons from further north recruiting local disgruntled young Fulani men and boys who see no hope for their future.

In recent months there have been brutal attacks on villages in southern Kaduna State, north-west Nigeria. The attacks are led by rogue Fulani with sophisticated weapons from further north recruiting local disgruntled young Fulani men and boys who see no hope for their future.

VOM Australia’s ministry partner in Nigeria has been asked to help care for and educate some of the children affected. With this recent influx they are now caring for almost 300 children.

All of the recent arrivals are displaced, homeless with their families’ property destroyed, this year’s crops gone, tools, animals, household goods gone, without access to the land from which their families gain their livelihood.

All of the children have lost one or both parents in the conflict. Four of the group have old gunshot wounds from previous attacks, with significant damage to their small, frail bodies.

Sources: Christian Faith Ministries, The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Pray the authorities will take further action to deal with religious violence in addition to conflicts resulting from tribalism, territorial expansion and desperate poverty.
  • Pray for the pastors trying to bring comfort to their people who have suffered and who are fearful. Pray too for those taking great risks in sharing the Gospel with the Fulani.
  • Pray for our ministry partner as they care for these severely traumatised children.

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NIGERIA: Mass Killing during Curfew

NIGERIA: Mass Killing during Curfew

Armed Fulani attacked five villages during a 24-hour curfew in a predominantly Christian area in Nigeria’s Kaduna state.

While police said Fulani gunmen killed 21 villagers, local community leaders put the death toll at as many as 33. Dozens of homes were destroyed.

The attacks took place in the Atyap Chiefdom in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area last Wednesday and Thursday. Armed men travelling in trucks killed six people and burned 20 homes in Apiashyim village and killed seven people in Kibori village.

Locals reported the attack while it was still going on in Apiashyim, but personnel arrived only after the attack was over, a survivor told local media.

The Fulani men then attacked the Atakmawei community, killing 12 people and burning down 10 homes. Later, they killed three people in Apyiako village and five in Magamiya village, burning down several houses in both locations.

A truck resembling an armoured military vehicle and military motorcycles drove into the Apyiako village square while the attack was underway, but no attempt was made to stop the destruction, according to survivors.

Fulani herders routinely attack predominantly Christian farming communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt. While some believe the nomadic herders launch attacks as they look for grazing pastures, the radicals are known for targeting Christian villages in a similar manner as the Boko Haram terror group.

Sources: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, AFP, The Christian Post

  • Ask for God’s intervention in the midst of this turmoil and for His presence to provide comfort and provision for those who are suffering.
  • Intercede for Nigerian believers who are under the threat of these attacks. Pray against any kind of retaliation.
  • Pray for those taking great risks in sharing the Gospel with the Fulani and for others involved in peace building initiatives between the communities.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

ETHIOPIA: Slaughter in Oromia

ETHIOPIA: Slaughter in Oromia

The assassination in Addis Ababa of a popular ethnic Oromo singer has triggered an explosion of ethnic-religious violence. The violence appears organised, designed to destabilise the nation and derail the reforms of Prime Minister Abiy (a Protestant Christian). Commencing at 4am on 30 June, gangs of Oromo nationalists specifically targeted ethnic Amhara Ethiopian Orthodox Christians living in some 40 districts of Oromia region. Victims were clubbed, hacked and stoned to death. The toll to date is 239 dead with some 300 wounded, many critically. Some 3360 Amhara Christians are displaced and sheltering in churches. Along with businesses, 493 homes belonging to Amhara Christians were torched. Some 4700 arrests have been made, including that of Oromo nationalist leader Jawar Mohammed (a fundamentalist Muslim). The situation is explosive.

Source: Christian Faith and Freedom

  • Lord bring peace to Ethiopia, in particular at this time to the Oromia region; may your steadfast love be felt.
  • Pray for comfort to those who are grieving; heal those who are wounded; provide food, water, shelter and medical aid to those who are displaced, and impart wisdom, grace, energy and authority to those who seek to lead according to the will and purpose of the Lord.
  • Father complete the good work in Ethiopia; may all evil plots be thwarted; and may the Lord bless our
    brother Prime Minister Abiy with security, wisdom, insight, discernment and strength, all while keeping him humble.

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NIGERIA: Reports of “Unfolding Genocide”

NIGERIA: Reports of “Unfolding Genocide”

For several years, suffering has been a way of life for Christians in Nigeria. In 2010, the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a preliminary examination into this troubling situation which was formerly caused by the violence of Boko Haram militants.

Thousands of lives have been lost throughout the years that have followed, along with the destruction of numerous homes and churches, and the abduction of hundreds of innocent victims.

As horrific as the crimes perpetrated by Boko Haram have been, this terrorist group has been eclipsed in recent years by Fulani militia groups. While the exact death toll is unknown, Christian leaders claim that over 6,000 believers have been maimed or killed — many of them vulnerable children, women and the aged.

On 15 June, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief released a report titled, Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide? The document outlines the fact that thousands of innocent lives have been lost and multiple homes destroyed, concerns that have prompted the organisation to call on the involvement of the international community. This call includes providing humanitarian assistance for those who are suffering, a response from the international community, and proactive action taken by the Nigerian government.

British representatives have also taken their concerns to the ICC earlier this year, asking for further investigation.

The response of the Nigerian government to allegations referencing its passivity over the horrendous atrocities committed by the country’s militants has been dismissive. President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesperson refers to a “misleading campaign” with “false allegations of persecution of Christians.” Such an apathetic response leads to another concern, questioning potential bias on the part of the president, the son of a Fulani chief.

Sources: Forbes, Christian Post

  • Intercede for Nigeria’s Christians who are facing these ongoing campaigns of violence from various opposing sources.
  • Pray that the government will act responsibly on behalf of these innocent victims by making efforts to halt the violence, protect communities and bring the perpetrators to justice.
  • Pray that action from the international community will foster positive change for the sake of the Nigerian people.

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CHINA: Church Demolished, Christians Hospitalised

CHINA: Church Demolished, Christians Hospitalised

In the morning of 12 June, around 200 officials from various government departments arrived at the Sunzhuang Church with cranes and heavy-duty machinery.

Personnel from the Zhengzhou High-Tech District Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau forced their way into the church and took control of the Christians gathered there. They did not show any legal documents.

Some of the church’s property, including chairs, were tossed outside. At least one Christian woman resisted, and she lost consciousness and had to be taken to the hospital after being pushed to the ground. Another Christian was hospitalised after officials beat her. One male church attendee was taken into custody.

The church was then demolished.

Sunzhuang Church joined China’s network of government-run churches in the early 1990s. In June 2013, the Sunzhuang Village Committee issued a demolition notice to Sunzhuang Church, stating Christians failed to completely follow the procedures for building a church. In response, the church presented authorities with a certificate showing they had obtained prior government approval. At that time, the government sent out a group of people to demolish the church and cut off its electricity and water supply. However, Christians protected the church, and the officials were unable to proceed.

Source: China Aid

  • Ask the Lord to help the church members to overcome the shock and disappointment over this development. Pray those who were injured or detained will be restored.
  • Pray the Lord will enable the church leaders to minister to their members and continue to bring teaching, guidance and fellowship.
  • Pray the believers will continue to be strong in faith and not lose heart over the increased opposition. Ask God to bring good from the church’s suffering.

Post your prayer in the comments below.