Over the last two years the radical Islamist group Boko Haram has attacked more churches and killed more Christians than any other Islamist terrorist group or government in the world. The group, which has now pledged allegiance to the Middle Eastern Islamist group, Islamic State, has razed entire villages, killing many of the inhabitants and kidnapping others. The kidnapping of over 276 mainly Christian schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014 generated huge media attention, but there have been many other abductions. Almost all ofthose kidnapped have been Christians.
Active mainly in Nigeria’s north-eastern states, Boko Haram has been waging a war against the Nigerian government and security forces and carrying out brutal attacks on churches, Christian villages, moderate Muslims, and Western-style educational establishments. Some 20,000people have been killed since the group initiated its violent campaign in 2009. Thousands of Nigerians have fled to other parts of the country and also into neighbouring countries, often living in desperate circumstances.
Northern Nigeria is mainly Muslim and the Christian minority of north-eastern Nigeria is now feared to be under threat of extinction. The country’s southern states are largely Christian. In Nigeria’s Middle Belt, where Christians and Muslims are roughly equal in number, there have been attacks against Christians from other groups, most notably from Muslim Fulani tribesmen, who have attacked and slaughtered hundreds ofChristian villagers.
Lift up in prayer the many thousands of Nigerian Christians and others who have been displaced from their homes because of anti-Christian violence. Pray that God will comfort those who have lost loved ones in the brutal attacks that have occurred in market places, churches, schools and Christian villages as well as in attacks on mosques and on the security forces. Pray that the international community will prioritise the insurgency in Nigeria and will act to bring an end to the brutality. Ask the Lord to lead security forces to the places where kidnapped believers are being held, so that they can be returned to their families.