Nigerian Christians under Attack
Release International has called for prayer for Nigeria’s Christians after Islamist
militants bombed churches and a state of emergency was declared in the New Year.
Nigeria’s president, professing Christian Goodluck Jonathan, has vowed to defeat
the terrorist group Boko Haram and closed parts of the borders with Niger, Chad
Boko Haram (meaning ‘Western education is forbidden’) wants to impose strict
Islamic law in the country, and has warned Christians to flee the country or face death.
In December, it planted bombs at churches in Madalla, near the capital Abuja, and
in Jos and Gadaka. The bomb in Madalla went off as worshippers packed the church
for the Christmas service, killing around 35 and injuring at least 50 others. Gadaka is in Yobe state in the north, where Islamic law has been imposed on
a Christian minority. Jos is in Plateau state, the dividing line between the largely
Muslim north and the mainly Christian south.
In early January, gunmen stormed a church in Gombe during a prayer service and
killed five, including the pastor’s wife.