Nigerian elders hold service in burnt out church after Boko Haram lays waste to Christian village
Four Nigerian church elders held a Sunday service in their burnt out church building on 23 February, two days after Boko Haram militants abducted some of the church’s female members and set fire to the building. The terrorists’ rampage had destroyed churches, homes, schools and businesses in the Christian village of Garkida on 21 February.
Heavily-armed militants stormed into the church during a women’s fellowship meeting and kidnapped some of the Christian women and left the building a burnt out shell. A local Christian leader said that, in spite of their anguish and shock, the pastors decided to continue to meet together to show that “‘church’ isn’t the building razed down, but the Christians living – the Christian body is the church”.
On the day of the attack, the jihadists approached the village in Adamawa State “in about nine trucks, and more than 50 motorcycles carrying at least two persons on each,” a local eyewitness told Barnabas. The attack lasted around six hours, during which two other churches were also set alight, a local market looted, a health centre burnt down and two ambulances destroyed.
Former Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, took part in a prayer rally for peace, on Sunday 23 February. “Lord, as your people, we bring confession of the needless bloodshed, killings, and attacks by the dreadful Boko Haram insurgents, banditry and the spate of kidnappings and all kinds of evil in various parts of the country. Lord, we plead for your forgiveness, mercy, and cleansing of the land,” he prayed.
The number of attacks by Islamist militant groups has sharply increased, since April 2019. Christians in Nigeria are on high alert, calling for urgent prayer against the onslaught of Boko Haram attacks on them.