Latest Update on the Violence in Jos, Nigeria

February 4, 2010

Pastor Mohammed was formerly a Muslim. He became a believer in Christ in 1983. He and his family escaped death and are thankful to now be squatting in this one room shelter.
This was Pastor Mohammed´s family home which was one of hundreds destroyed in vicious attacks against Christians. More than 500 have been killed; 200,000 displaced in Muslim/Christian violence that ignited on January 17. There was no insurance coverage available to replace any of the homes, shops or vehicles which Muslims destroyed.
This shop (Amalgamated Tin Mining Company of Nigeria) which is owned by Christains, was burnt by Muslims.
This is one of the many churches burnt by Muslims.
More shops of Christians burnt by Muslims at Bukuru Central Market. It is now in ashes.
Another shot of Bukuru Market. Because of the high tension between Christians and Muslims, Jos was largely segregated before the violence. These shops all belonged to Christians who dare not enter the area now, but Muslims stroll about freely.

Rae Burnett, Africa Director for Christian Aid, sends the following report directly from her travels in West Africa where she has remained in close touch with ministry leaders in Jos, Nigeria.

The whole country of Nigeria is in turmoil over this and other problems-such as the President having been gone to Saudi Arabia for heart surgery since November. Marches and protests, demanding the rule of law, are taking place throughout the country with the exception of Islamic regions in the north. Christian Aid has first-hand information and photographs. Christian Aid Mission is a missions ministry. We are never involved in government issues, but it is hard not to say anything that hints of political problems because politics and religion are always connected if Islam is involved.

There seems to be an Islamic plan, very serious, and already in full motion, to Islamize Africa. Nigeria is the focal point because of its size and leadership in the continent, especially in all things Christian. Events in Jos are just a small glimpse of a much larger picture, and the Christians know it, especially in West Africa. They are calling out to us, their brothers and sisters who live in freedom, for help.

Soldiers have taken over Jos. Tens of thousands of people displaced by the violence are surviving in four encampments. Two camps in Islamic Bauchi State where Shariah law has been declared since 2001 are providing for the needs of Muslims. Most Christians remain in Jos, many packed into Christian school buildings and churches that were not destroyed. Others find shelter where they can. The situation is especially critical in Jos. Food and water are in short supply.

This letter to Rae Burnett, Africa Director for Christian Aid, is from a respected leader of an indigenous Christian ministry in Jos, Nigeria.

Dear Rae,

We are so grateful for your concern and for the prayers of Christian Aid supporters.

Thank you for using only my first name. In terms of safety and security, my life is completely in God's hands. At great risk, I visited and took photographs because I am so burdened for our churches, and I want you to make known what is really happening here.

I am also sending you one of the very sad stories from this dreadful crisis. Muslims are working hard to make it look as though Christians are killing them and that they are the victims. I do not know any evangelical Christian leader who approves and supports Christians killing anybody. Certainly not Muslims--worst still in retaliation. Rather, we are working for their salvation. Even so, there were some instances where professing Christians acted in self-defense.

I want to give you the following story, just told me by Pastor Darlington Elekwa, who was discipling the boy. Darlington was one of my student leaders in the early '80s:

"I learned just this morning how my beloved boy, John Nfon Nsima, was murdered in cold blood by terrorists at Gada Bako, Nasarawa Gwom. He was only 20 years old.

One of John´s colleagues was taking him home on a motor bike. About 100 Muslim youths waylaid them, demanding that they declare that they have become Muslims. The rider of the motorbike did, but John refused. He maintained that he was a Christian and would die a Christian. Right there, they cut him down on the spot with axes and machetes. They gave the other one some cuts and let him go.

This surviving colleague of John's who rode the motorbike told us the story. We have gone round all the hospitals in search of his remains, but to no avail. Unfortunately his body must have been among hundreds of others given mass burial. We are obviously proud of our late brother who stood gallantly and refused to deny Christ even in the face of death."

John's gruesome murder brought back to memory how my brother -in-law, Jona, a PhD student at the University of Jos, was killed by his Muslim landlord's children and his possessions looted. I was so angry and deeply grieving over John´s death, feeling that I wanted to hunt the murderers down. But then I remembered that John's killers actually need help! And that we have something greater than an atomic bomb; we have the Word of God! So today our Bible class will be going out to camps where internally displaced persons are kept. We will offer comfort in suffering, and though we have no money for food, we will prepare packs of drinking water for them.

So keep praying for us, that's our request. Soldiers on the streets will get water from us as will any unbelievers we may meet.

Again, thank you so much for your care for us. We are deeply hurting.

In Christ, Brother Gideon

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