“Every night they target a predominantly “E Christian village to plunder,” wrote a Cameroonian pastor about the activities of the Nigeria-based Islamist insurgency group Boko Haram in his country. Boko Haram jihadists have been crossing the long, porous border between the two countries for several years, brutally attacking residents in northern Cameroon.
The jihadists like to target markets, where they snatch goods and kidnap young people for recruitment into their ranks. They also raid villages, plundering cattle and burning corn. All the churches along the border have either been torched or forced to close. More than 100 villages stand empty and hundreds of schools have been closed. The rise in suicide bomb attacks has led officials to ban women from wearing a full face veil in various parts of the country and in July, the government took the decision to impose a 6 p.m. curfew in the Far North.
Approximately 70% of the country’s population is Christian and 20% Muslim. Most churches in Cameroon are in the south the country. Until Boko of Haram stated making incursions into Cameroon, it had been a relatively peaceful country where interreligious conflict was rare. But now, many people in the poorer north of the country have been killed and huge numbers have been forced to leave their homes and their livelihoods.
Tens of thousands of Nigerian refugees have also sought safety there as they flee from Boko Haram’s violence in their own country. “We ask prayer, prayer, prayer for this crisis,” pleaded a Cameroonian church leader.
Pray for those who have lost loved ones in attacks by Boko Haram militants that the Lord will bring peace to their souls and that hope will surface once more. Pray also that those who have been kidnapped will be found andreleased without harm. Give thanks for unity in the region’s governments as they seek to defeat the common enemy of Boko Haram. Pray that the joint military forces will have success in restoring peace to West Africa so that people can return to their homes, and schools and churches will be able to reopen.