Help Nigerians Displaced by Terrorist Attacks

March 18, 2014

A Nigerian ministry is asking Christian Aid Mission for immediate help to meet a growing humanitarian crisis, triggered by a rash of terrorist attacks that have prompted the exodus of tens of thousands of residents in the northeastern part of the country.

Since January, numerous media reports have detailed atrocities committed by groups of assailants who suddenly descend upon unprotected villages, slaughtering the men, abducting women and children, and burning homes to the ground. Panicked villagers in the region are wondering if their community might be next.

While such raids are not new to the area, they have increased in frequency and savagery. A radical Islamic insurgent group is suspected of carrying out the attacks.

According to the United Nations, some 2,000 people fled into neighboring Niger in just the last four weeks. Another 4,000 escaped into Cameroon during the past two months. That brings the total number of refugees crossing the Nigerian border into Niger, Cameroon, and other neighboring countries to more than 57,000 since May 2013.

In addition, over 470,000 people have been displaced within the northern Nigeria states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamwa since 2009, according to a UNHCR spokesman.

Those affected by the violence include Christians, Muslims, and animists—anyone who does not support the group´s intent to transform Nigeria into a sharia law-based society.

The leader of the Nigerian ministry sent the following report to Christian Aid´s Africa area director March 12:

This evening I returned from two displacement camps and I feel that I should brief you and ask for your prayers.

There are together over 104,000 victims that need urgent help. This is also an opportunity for God´s people to show Christ´s love. It was almost impossible to reach the place, as I had to go through 18 military checkpoints to get there.

Beloved, the situation at the camps is horrible. Men and women are without food and shelter. Some children are already malnourished. Apart from our prayers, they need our love. The five bags of rice and some food we took there could not sustain any significant number of people. The families that are affected come from Bornu, Adamawa and Yobe states. But they are really traumatized and need believers to pray. Some of them gathered for me to talk to them and to preach the Word. But it seems no one can understand or hear you when they need food. I am thinking of going there next week. I am going to take some rice, millet, milk, and blankets. I wish I had enough to go around. The people are desperate. I even thought of carrying one young man out as he desired to follow me and leave with me. The military would not permit that now, as there is a process in place to do that.

Pray for wisdom for the Nigerian government so they know how to handle this situation. It is beyond them, as these terrorists seem to have more tactics and wisdom than the military.

For now, I think we need your prayers most, as well as support to help these victims. Here are some prayer items for you:

  • 1. Pray for courage for our missionaries working among these victims of terrorism.
  • 2. Pray for our trips to these areas, as it is dangerous to even reach some of them.
  • 3. Pray for the refugees themselves. They are in terrible shape and are suffering from hunger.
  • 4. Pray for people to support our feeding distributions. We need food, blankets and other things to give to them.
  • 5. Pray for wisdom for our military. They need intelligence and wisdom to handle the menace of the terrorists. The members of this group are very dangerous and ready to die for their cause.

May God bless you for your prayers and support.

The ministry will be distributing staple items such as rice, beans, cooking oil, water, and milk. The average cost to feed a family of five to ten people for one month is approximately $200.

Blankets, mattresses, clothing, and shoes are also needed. A single blanket costs about $20.

After emergency needs are met, the ministry plans to help traumatized families rebuild dwellings that were destroyed in the attacks.