Civilians Flee Terrorist Attacks on Towns in Northeastern Nigeria
September 25, 2014
A brutal rebel takeover of several towns and villages in northeastern Nigeria has sent a flood of people to safe-havens with only the shirts on their backs – and survival on their hearts.
“I have never in my life seen people run for their lives such as this,” the director of the ministry said. “The gospel has been our only message all along, and now the enemy is trying to bring another message – this time it is with swords and arms.”
Food is set out for displaced persons in northeast Nigeria.
At least 300 people were killed in the rebel attacks on the predominantly Christian towns and villages in late August and the first week of September, according to published reports.
“More than 200,000 refugees alone entered Yola, while others fled to Cameroon and to Maiduguri, depending on which route takes them safer during the flight,” the director said. “Now our ministry has been turned to helping virtually all the refugees. No one man can do this alone, as the number of people is on the increase.”
Yola is the capital of Adamawa State, which shares a border with Cameroon to the east and Borno State to the north, where Maiduguri is the capital. The Nigerian military later regained control of two of the attacked towns near the Adamawa/Borno border. Some who fled have begun to trickle back to those areas, where the assailants burned down many homes, but thousands remain in Yola in need of food and shelter.
The influx of fleeing masses has driven up food and other prices by 300 percent, but people continue to arrive without a means to pay for anything, said the director of the ministry that Christian Aid Mission assists.
“Now we must ask you again because we cannot fight this battle alone,” the ministry director said. “Our missionaries and the people need your urgent prayers, and we must not shy away from your prayers and support.”
He said the ministry is enlisting the help of some of its indigenous missionaries from other parts of Nigeria to help.
“Pray for us as much as you can,” he said. “Share with others to support children and others who have not eaten for days. We cannot afford to feed the displaced people, and local churches have come to understand they must also help to meet these desperate needs. But the number of people needing help is too great for them to handle alone.”
The group provides food and clothing to displaced persons taking refuge at the Yola School of Missions and also offers assistance, including help for those whose houses have been destroyed in the attacked areas.
“Normally its costs $6 per day to feed one person,” the director said. “But there have been times when there were so many that we spent $2,400 per month to feed them, not including the costs of providing soap and other kinds of support that usually go along with helping victims.”
The ministry has plans to relocate to Abuja, the federal capital in the central part of the country, but must first ensure the well-being of those who have become Christians under the ministry’s influence in the area in Nigeria’s predominantly Islamic north, he said.
“We are planning to get more food and materials for the people,” the director said. “This must be our ministry, to salvage both souls and spirit. Beloved, ask God’s people to pray for us and for the northeast of Nigeria.”