On July 26, 12 Christians were killed, including three pastors, in northern Nigeria after members of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram launched attacks on police and government bases, according to contacts at VOM Canada.
The violence, which began in Bauchi state, spread to Borno, Kano and Yobe states. Churches were set ablaze and several people were abducted, including Christians. Many believers were threatened with death if they refused to convert to Islam. According to media reports, assailants behead three pastors: Pastors Sabo Yukubu, Sylvester Akpan and Pastor George Orji. The assailants were reportedly acting on the instruction of the extremist group's leader, Mohammed Yusuf. Yusuf was later killed by authorities.
The militants attempted to force the pastors to convert to Islam, but they refused to abandon their faith. They were then beheaded by guards who shouted "Allah Akbar" and fired several gunshots into the air in celebration.
These recent reports of persecution in Northern Nigeria reflect the trials believers endure. The Voice of the Martyrs actively supports persecuted believers in many ways through the Families of Martyrs fund, resources for widows to start businesses and a free education at Stephen Centre. Pray God will comfort the families of those killed in these attacks. Pray the peace of Christ will rule the hearts and minds of Nigerian Christians in the face of ongoing threats and danger.
Posted: August 18, 2009