Attacks on Brethren in Nigeria leave four deadBy Sheldon C. Good Mennonite World Review
Suspected Islamic militants have killed hundreds of people in Nigeria since January, and attacks on at least two Church of the Brethren congregations in June resulted in at least four deaths.
Swelling violence in the predominantly Muslim north has been affecting Mennonite Central Committee Nigeria’s work in nearly every way, an MCC area director said.
As violence creeps closer to the city of Jos, where MCC Nigeria is based, workers wonder who will be attacked next.
Boko Haram, a militant Islamic sect whose terror campaign has killed more than 1,000 people in the past two years, has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, which often target churches, government facilities and police stations.
Church leaders from MCC and the Church of the Brethren are requesting prayers due to the instability and insecurity in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.
On June 10 five gunmen opened fire at a congregation of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (The Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) in the northeastern city of Biu, killing at least one person and injuring several others, including two seriously.
The gunmen — suspected to be part of Boko Haram — reportedly surrounded the church and began shooting indiscriminately. A watchman closed the gate to the church, but the gunmen then shot through the walls and into the church. About 400 adults and children had been worshiping.
In mid-June an Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria church was burned in the northern city of Kaduna. Three people died as a result.
“Attacks [on various churches in Nigeria] have been happening almost every weekend, it seems, over the last number of weeks,” said Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, news director for the Church of the Brethren.
Church of the Brethren congregations throughout Nigeria have experienced similar attacks for the last 20 years, she said.
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