Boko Haram kills an influential Christian leader in Nigeria

On the same day that Nigerian president President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency, Boko Haram, the group responsible for the deaths of at least 250 people in the past month alone have killed Reverend Faye Pama Musa, Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Borno state. Photo to the left is – Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Borno State: Rev. Faye Pama Musa was assassinated by the Boko Haram. (Image courtesy Open Doors)

Mission Network News reports:

Location of Borno State in Nigeria

Nigeria (MNN) ― Nigeria’s downward spiral continues as the Boko Haram kills an influential Christian leader.

„Reverend Faye Pama Musa was killed on Tuesday. He’s Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Borno state,” says Open Doors USA spokesman Jerry Dykstra.

That same day, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno state and two others. According to reports, Boko Haram violence has claimed over 250 lives in the past month alone.

According to Dystra, Musa’s assassination is a bad sign coming from the Boko Haram.

„In the past they’ve targeted Christian churches, but now they’re targeting individual pastors,” Dykstra explains. „It’s…something that’s really troublesome, and certainly Christians in the West need to keep on praying.”

An Open Doors report says Musa, who was also the presiding pastor of REME Assembly, Maiduguri, was trailed to his house Tuesday evening by two gunmen.

„He attempted to run away, but his assailants closed in on him. They [gunmen] shot him at close range,” a source said.

Ask the Lord to comfort Reverend Musa’s family. Open Doors’ Nigeria team leader knew Musa personally and says the victim was a friend of their ministry.

„I remember a time I asked him a question, whether he would consider leaving Maiduguri if it became necessary for his safety, and he said to me, ‘Where am I going to run to? I will stay here and die,'” the Open Doors leader shared.

Before declaring a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states, Nigeria’s president spoke words of reassurance.

„While the efforts at persuasion and dialogue will continue, let me reiterate that we have a sacred duty to ensure the security and well-being of all our people,” President Goodluck Jonathan stated on Tuesday.

„Therefore, we shall on no account shy away from doing whatever becomes necessary to provide the fullest possible security for the citizens of this country in any part of the country they choose to reside.”

Some aren’t buying it, Dykstra says.

„President Goodluck Jonathan has said they will go after them and said they’re terrorists and they’ll really get after them. But the problem is that he’s said that before,” Dykstra explains.

„There are a lot of conflicting thoughts about his sincerity.”

Pray that peace would come to Nigeria. Pray also for Nigeria’s president.

„He is a Christian, and we need to pray that he’ll have wisdom. As things just seem like they’re snowballing and snowballing, he really needs our prayer.”

 Related articles

Northern Nigeria under State of Emergency

Nigeria State of Emergency BBC
The three Northeastern states, where yesterday,
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has declared a state of emergency
after a series of deadly attacks by Islamist militant groups.

via photos – map and Nigerian president below via

Nigeria (ODM/MNN) ― Open Doors USA has issued an urgent appeal for prayer after receiving news that suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked the predominantly Nigerian Christian village of Zangan in southern Kaduna around midnight on Monday.It was the latest in a string of attacks that prompted a State of Emergency.

Open Doors spokesman Jerry Dykstra says they’re still trying to determine the details of what happened, but so far, „Open Doors says it understands an ‘entire village’ has been destroyed: burnt down, many people are fleeing after the attack.”

The village chief’s residence was reportedly burnt to the ground, and the village chief’s whereabouts remains unknown after he fled Zangan. Churches and homes were among the buildings destroyed in the attack.

Goodluck JonathanDykstra says this attack came after an earlier threat and days of uncertainty. „The report that we got from Open Doors in Africa said that they had been threatened before by the Boko Haram. They were living in fear almost daily. In that area, many schools have been closed down because of that.”

„We do not have any more details at this stage, but we understand that this area saw a similar attack about four weeks ago. Open Doors urges prayer for the people of southern Kaduna state and Zangan village in particular.” Police say 19 people died in that earlier attack.

Open Doors has been active in Nigeria since 1997. Over the last few years, „The Boko Haram actually wants to take over the whole country and put into effect Sharia Law,” explains Dykstra. Their attacks–which are estimated to have cost 3,600 lives since 2009–have included suicide blasts as well as coordinated gun and bomb assaults on houses of worship, Christian centers, security forces, schools and other symbols of authority. All that means the Open Doors response teams have seen dramatic growth in the outreach they do.

With the Boko Haram targeting church leaders and Christian adults, that leaves an untold number of orphans and widows. Open Doors projects target schooling for the children, as well as socio-economic projects for widows of Christian leaders who have been killed. Dykstra adds, „We support the Christians there in emergency situations with trauma counseling. We do a lot of care for Muslim-Background Believers, distribution of Bibles, Sunday school training, assistance to Christians in Sharia-controlled States in the North.”

Nigeria is ranked No. 13 on the Open Doors 2013 World Watch List ( ) of the worst persecutors of Christians in the world.

It’s unlikely that this pattern will change much. Aside from the physical help, Dyskstra says Nigerian believers are asking for wisdom in their response. „I think we need to pray for Christians not to strike back. The Christian leaders are urging–especially the youth–not to retaliate. That would kind of just recycle this pattern of violence.”

Watch the video of Nigerian President Jonathan declaring the state of emergency here –

2012: Boko Haram’s bloodiest year for Nigeria with 12 more killed on Christmas Eve

from and BBCNews

Boko Haram, a Nigerian militant Islamist group, had their bloodiest year in 2012, responsible for over 750 deaths.

General Aziza, Nigeria’s former national security advisor, says the upscale in Boko Haram’s terrorist attacks may be linked with the upcoming 2015 Nigerian presidential elections.

When President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, was elected president of Nigeria in 2011, a series of Boko Haram killings followed. Boko Haram made threats on the president to resign or else turn Nigeria into an Islamic nation.

Rae Burnett, the Africa Director for Christian Aid Mission, explains, “I do believe that it’s spiritual warfare, but it’s definitely the desire to see that Islam is the world religion. They start where they are, and these guys are Nigerian, so they want to be empowered in Nigeria.”

Several of the Muslim-majority Northern states began declaring themselves under Sharia law after the 2011 elections. Of the 32 Nigerian states, 12 currently are govern by Islamic Sharia law. 2015 will be Muslims’ next chance to gain power in Nigeria’s political arena.

However, Boko Haram grew quiet on the large-scale attack front earlier this month. The fact that Christmas was approaching—the biggest Christian holiday of the year—wasn’t lost on anyone and created an eerie silence. Attacks were expected, especially since Boko Haram has declared intent to eradicate Christians from Nigeria.

And Boko Haram militants have the means to back up this desire. With ties to Al-Qaeda and funding for weapons, they fight in pockets and avoid any clashes with the Nigerian military. They’ve gotten bolder. According to Burnett, “They do whatever is in front of them. If it’s a school bus, they’ll blow it up. If it’s a school, they’ll blow it up. They’re trying to make people afraid.

Meanwhile, the BBC News reports that just on Christmas eve-

Islamist Gunmen Kill 12 Nigerian Christians

in Christmas Eve Attacks

Gunmen in the northern Nigerian state of Yobe have shot dead at least six Christians, the army and local officials say. They say a church in Peri village near Potiskum, the economic capital of Yobe, was set on fire in an attack late on Christmas Eve.

No group has so far said it carried out the attack.

The Boko Haram Islamist militant group has targeted a number of churches in the north since 2010. It has killed hundreds in its campaign to impose Sharia law. A series of bomb attacks carried out by the group across the country at Christmas 2011 – including two at Christmas Day church services – left almost 40 people dead and many more injured.

‘Savage acts of terrorism’The head of the Network for Justice human rights group, Zakari Adamu, told the BBC that the gunmen also attacked the homes of Christians following the attack during the midnight mass service. Boko Haram carried out a series of attacks on Christians this time last year.

Burnt cars outside St Theresa Catholic Church in Abuja (December 25 2011)

The AFP news agency reported that the pastor of the church – a branch of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) – is among the dead.

Military Spokesman Eli Lazarus told the Reuters news agency that six people were killed in the violence, which happened when „unknown gunmen attempted to attack Potiskum but were repelled by troops”. „While they were fleeing, they attacked a church in a village,” he said.

The military say that a suspected gunman has been detained, and security in the area has been stepped up to reassure residents. They could not say how many gunmen took part in the attack or whether they belonged to a particular organisation.

The head of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Yobe, Idi Garba, told AFP that many worshippers at ECWA „are still missing”.

„I have been informed that six bodies have been recovered,” Mr Garba said.

He said that some worshippers who lived near the church „fled their homes during the attack and it is assumed that they are still hiding in the bush”.

Correspondents says that while Yobe’s population is overwhelmingly Muslim, Potiskum has a significant Christian minority. Peri is just 2km (1.24 miles) outside the city. Boko Haram has been able to carry out so many attacks in Yobe because it borders Borno state where the insurgent group is based.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous state and its biggest oil producer. Most people in the south are Christian, whereas the north has a Muslim majority.

Pray for Christians in Nigeria to persevere and hold fast to their hope in the Lord. Pray for many others in Nigeria to come to know Christ and for church leaders to advance their ministry.

Persecution watch in Nigeria – it is estimated between 300 – 1,000 already martyred in 2011

Pray for the Church in Nigeria. See article above on How to pray for the persecuted church.

If you have been following international news you already know about all the church bombings and killings being perpetrated on Nigeria’s Christians. Already approx. 100 people have been killed in church bombing  attacks this year. With yet another attack on churches that left 21 people dead just this past Sunday, the 25th of June, 2012 in Kaduna State, some are fearing that Nigeria is sliding into anarchy.

Church bombed June 25, 2012 which killed 21 people – photo

Mission News Network reported today that Nigerian security forces are warning that more violence is coming:

The grim report was confirmed by an e-mail released by the Boko Haram confirming their plans for the coming weeks. In Kaduna and Zaria where churches were bombed last week, a curfew is still in effect.

The United States has imposed sanctions on three people associated with the militant group Boko Haram. It’s a move aimed at disrupting the group’s finances, since it appears the group has gotten both organized and funded since its re-emergence in 2010.

Open Doors reported two thwarted bombings over the weekend. Open Doors President and CEO, Dr. Carl Moeller, explains, „Boko Haram concealed a bomb in a coffin, claiming that it was a corpse. Fortunately, soldiers at a checkpoint insisted on seeing what was inside, and there were bombs in there. The men were arrested.”

In the second attempt, a man was arrested when he masqueraded as someone who was interested in learning about Jesus Christ and to submit his life to Him. The man approached the pastor in the church. While talking, the pastor noticed a bag a few yards away. When he asked the possible convert about the bag, he denied knowing anything about the bag. But after the police discovered that the bag was filled with explosives, the would-be suicide bomber was arrested.

Then, with Sunday came a prison break, a fire fight, and the escape of 40 inmates who are members of Boko Haram. A top radical Islamist sect member blamed for a deadly Christmas Day church bombing in Nigeria was shot and killed by security forces in the fight. However, Habibu Bama’s death may cause more problems than it solves.

Boko Haram released a statement announcing it was happy about Bama’s „martyrdom.” Moeller says, „The jihad declared by Boko Haram is enough to push many of the extremist-influenced Muslims into violence against the Christian community, when you add the component of a martyr–someone who was intentionally sprung from jail this last week. He was killed in the ensuing fight, and that takes it to a whole other level.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government fired the West African nation’s security adviser and defense minister.  However, Moeller notes, „The firing of the national security leader in that country is not the worst part of it.” It may have been calculated to keep dialogue open, but the real concern is that they hired a Muslim to replace the outgoing adviser. Moeller says, „Most of the Christians in the country are viewing this appointment as a mistake, because what will the orientation of this new Defense Minister be? Probably oriented to sympathize with a number of the Muslim communities.”

It’s a desperate move as the country continues to battle an insurgency that has cost hundreds their lives and displaced thousands. Militants are increasingly attacking civilians–in particular, Christians, which has inflamed religious tensions in Nigeria’s volatile Middle Belt region.

Despite last week’s reprisal violence, Moeller says by and large, „The only thing that’s maintaining any level of social stability in the country is that the  Christians have not taken on the jihad against them with equal acts of violence.” And yet, „You have a situation where it’s almost untenable for the Christian community to do nothing.”

What can be done? Pray. It’s the first line of defense. „We are calling on Christians to seek God’s face in the midst of this and let God fight the battle for them.”

Moeller goes on to say that there is still a lot of fruit, despite the circumstances. „I just read a report from Operation World that had Nigeria’s Christian church growing at three or four times the population growth. As big as the population growth is in Nigeria, the church is growing at a remarkably rapid pace.”

An Open Doors co-worker is asking for prayer: „We really appreciate your concern and prayers. Continue to pray for us, and don’t get tired. Our office might be among the places which the sect members may aim to attack at any time and any day. Pray that the Lord will deliver us.”

Moeller agrees. „Pray for the Christians in Nigeria. Pray for the peace of the church in Nigeria. Pray for those that would be bombers against the church that they would have a dramatic Damascus Road conversion in some cases, and that testimony would also go out to encourage believers.”

Nigeria is ranked No. 13 on the 2012 Open Doors World Watch List of 50 countries which are the worst persecutors of Christians. According to the World Watch List, Nigeria had at least 300 martyrs in 2011, although the actual number could be closer to 1,000.

Nigerian president says Boko Haram wants to destabilise govt

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