From Open Doors
Over 150 people have been killed and 10 churches demolished in a carefully planned attack on the Christian community in Damaturu.
More than 200 heavily armed Boko Haram members invaded the community of New Jerusalem after Friday prayers on 4 November, detonating bombs in churches and shooting any believer in sight. Carrying sophisticated guns, explosives and knives, and chanting "Allahu Akbar", the Islamists began to shoot passers by who could not recite any Islamic verses - the only condition for survival. All the Christians who were trapped were either shot or slaughtered with knives. Boko Haram spent about four hours killing and demolishing churches without hindrance from police or security personnel. At least 17 military and police were killed during the attack and both the new and old Police Headquarters were demolished.
Concentrated in northern Nigeria, the extreme Islamist sect is openly agitating for the full implementation of Sharia throughout the country. "War on the church of Jesus Christ" A new settlement of believers in the New Jerusalem area of Damaturu has been described as a haven of churches and Christians - one with which extremist Muslims are not happy. "We are dumbfounded by this attack. It is a war on the church of Jesus Christ," said Rev. Garba Idi, pastor of the ECWA Gospel Church that suffered a bloody blast during the attack. "Boko Haram is out to destroy the church," he concluded while inspecting his damaged church. "Their plan was to kill all of us, but the Lord has spared us. We have a great challenge as a church in this part of the world. We are living on the mercy of God, because they promised to come back and destroy our homes."
Mrs. Grace Samaila, 30, newly married in June, saw her husband shot in the head in front of their church. "We were on my husband's motorbike just outside the gate of the church. The Muslim militants stopped us and asked my husband if he was a Muslim. He said, ‘No, I am a Christian.' In my heart I knew that calamity will soon befall, so I was praying. They asked me to get down from the bike and go my way [although] I asked them to allow my husband [to go] so that he could take me home. They shouted at me and pushed me with a stick as my husband was pleading with them to allow me [to go]. "They asked him to accept Islam and he said no. So they shouted at him to keep going. As soon as he moved some meters away from them, they shot him in the head. He fell from the bike [and died next to the road]. "I could not sleep, and every day the scene of the incident appears to me," she said. "I want God to take away my life, to join my husband."
The present situation
Believers in Damaturu remain fearful. Many have fled the city, convinced that the few security men deployed in the area are insufficient to contain the situation. Local church leaders tried to meet with His Royal Highness the emir of Damaturu, but they were denied an audience by the palace attendants.
In claiming responsibility for the attacks in Damaturu, the spokesperson for Boko Haram, Abu Qaqa, threatened to launch more attacks all across northern Nigeria. With the intention of imposing full Sharia, this Islamic sect has apparently designed a plan to eliminate all churches throughout the northern cities and villages. About 10 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks; further investigation is underway, according to the state police commissioner.
For comfort and healing for Christians caught up in these attacks
For protection, strength and wisdom for Open Doors co-workers seeking to encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters in situations such as this
That God would reveal Himself to the leaders of Boko Haram and change their hatred to love.