Vital Help to Displaced Christians in Jos Fulani attacks
Over the weekend of June 23 and 24, suspected Fulani herders went on a killing spree in villages around Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, murdering as many as 200 Christians and displacing thousands. Despite a dusk till dawn curfew, some violence still occurred on Monday. An Open Doors team visited the displaced and were able to minister to the people there. Due to the insecurity of the area, the people were left unattended by aid organizations. Open Doors was able to provide relief aid to help them deal with the initial effects of displacement.
Open Doors workers visited two informal internally displaced people (IDP) camps at churches in the Heipan area. “The displaced Christians were in a pathetic situation,” reported OD worker, Kerrie*. “Life has become a living hell for them. They have lost loved ones, houses and all they laboured for in the twinkling of an eye. The agony they are going through is hard to describe. We saw people who were still in a haze over what they have gone through. Children were crying hysterically, perhaps because of hunger or perhaps because of hunger and the trauma they had been through.”
Relief support was provided to over 3,000 displaced in the two camps. We delivered rice, maize, oil, tomato paste and toiletries. When the IDPs saw the van arriving they were shouting for joy. Some just burst into tears.
The women immediately started cooking for the different families and sharing the food among them.
“Greetings to you all! My name is Mary Dung from Swe, Barkin Ladi. I want to thank God for what happened for us. We never believed that God will keep us alive to see today. I thank God that some of us could escape and we have now found ourselves here in this camp. I want to thank you OD: I remembered a day ago you came and visited us to see the situation we are in. We told you that there is severe hunger, no shelter and no clothing. Everything was destroyed, and in the camp, there is no food to eat.
“But we thank God for using OD to bring help to us. In just an interval of a day you responded to our cry. Even the government has not done what you did to us. You have brought food items and toiletries for us. We are indeed grateful.
“My prayer is this: Wherever these resources are coming from, may God pay you back a thousand-fold and may He renew your strength. We plead that believers all over the world will pray that God will bring an end to all these killings because we have become homeless, fatherless and orphaned due to the attacks.
The pastor caring for the displaced also thanked OD for the help. “My name is Rev Gob Davu Gyang the Regional Church Council chairman in Heipan. We sincerely appreciate you for the kind gesture that you have shown unto us as we count our brothers and sisters who have been displaced in this region. In this area we have two different camps, one in Local Church Council, Ban and the other one here in Heipan. Your presence with us and assistance will help us earnestly to take care of these IDPs. We appreciate our brothers. May the Lord continue to bless and protect the life of people and Christendom in our country and our state and in our local government (areas). Thank you very much for this time.”
Thank you for giving generously to this urgent relief project. The need continues to be great. Please continue to pray the believers in Nigeria’s Middle Belt who continue to face violence resulting in death, destruction and displacement.
- Please pray for the peace in Plateau and the entire Middle Belt and country.
- Pray for Gods intervention in the lives of this displaced people: they need more food, shelter and clothing.
- Pray for the Lord’s working in their lives so that they will not be poisoned by hatred. Many are obviously deeply hurt and confessed to battling anger and resentment towards their persecutors.
- Please pray for wisdom and urgency for the government to address this violence.
- 17 people have been arrested after this violence. Pray for proper legal process and that justice will be served.
Christians under fire in Nigeria
From reports from Jos, Nigeria on 30th June 2018
As many as 200 Christians have been killed on June 24 and 25th, however, some residents fear the death toll may be even higher, as more bodies are yet to be recovered, while others were burned beyond recognition. On Sunday, 75 of the victims were buried in a mass grave.
We are still gathering information about the violence, but the details we have so far reveal the scale and brutality of the attacks:
- 120 people who were attending the funerals of an elderly member were hacked to death as they returned home.
- In another attack, in Gana Ropp village, a pastor, Rev. Musa Choji, was killed, as were his wife and son.
- In Gidin Akwati, the whole community was burned down. Local sources say that some of those displaced are still hiding in the bush, as they haven’t yet been able to find their way to a safe haven.
- A pastor with the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) denomination, who wanted to remain anonymous for security reasons, said that following an attack on Saturday, his entire village was reduced to ashes, and more than 100 people lost their lives.
The ECWA pastor said more than 50 heavily armed Fulani herdsmen surrounded the village of Nghar, in Gashes district, at around 3:30 a.m. They burned down all the houses, as well as two churches. Only a few people were able to escape.
His wife’s family was decimated. The assailants killed 14 members of her family, including her mother and sister. Others who had come to visit them were also killed. In total, 27 people lost their lives in the same house. They were all burned to death.Only one person—his wife’s younger brother—survived, as he managed to escape through the roof.
World Watch Monitor reports that on the day of the attack in Nghar, only two soldiers and one policeman were in the village, but they reportedly ran for their lives when the herdsmen launched their attack.
The attacks have some local sources saying that the ongoing violence is part of a “grand plan to Islamize Nigeria.”
“The killings are becoming no longer herder and farmer clashes” but a “deliberate attempt to conquer and occupy the land of the people’s ancestral heritage,” said Dr. Soja Bewarang, who also denounced the attack on a Bible school that trained African missionaries in Gana-Ropp village.
Reverend Gideon Para-Mallam, of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in Jos and founder of the Citizens Monitoriing Group working with Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, notes that the violence is part of a pattern, an emerging genda, saying that it is “another Boko Haram in disguise.”
The same Fulani people who have been living in peace with farmers suddenly have changed from using sticks to tend their cows, all of a sudden going to the farmlands, killing Christian farmers. their wives and children, surrounding whole villages. It’s a pointer … because Plateau state is the epicenter of Christianity.”
Although the realities of violence like these attacks can be overwhelming, we have repeatedly seen how the Lord sovereignly uses the Body of Christ to bring hope and remind Christians on the front lines that they are not forgotten.
Open Doors is standing with believers in these areas through emergency relief aid; training on how to stand strong in the midst of persecution; legal help and more. Right now, we are rushing critical aid and support to African believers whose lives are immersed in persecution. These Christ followers are risking all they have to follow Jesus.
*Names changed to protect identity