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Christians in Nigeria Attacked by Extremists during New Year’s Church Service

ICC Note:

Boko Haram and other Islamic extremists in Nigeria use the Christmas and New Year's holidays as a time to target and terrorize the Christian population of northern and central Nigeria. Boko Haram, whose expressed goal is to create a purely Islamic state in Nigeria's northern regions, has been encouraging Fulani Muslims to attack Christians in an effort to drive them out of what Boko Haram claims to be Muslim lands. On December 31, three Christians were killed in an attack on a church service in central Nigeria. In the attack, two adults and one child were killed when extremists opened fire on an open air church service. Please pray for the victims and their families as they start 2014 in grief and sorrow.

1/8/2014 Nigeria (Morning Star News) - Muslim extremists had once prior widowed Faith Kore Usman, a 29-year-old mother of five children, before Fulani herdsmen killed her second husband on New Year’s Eve.

As 34-year-old Kore Usman and other Christians were praising God in a field near their church building in Maihakorin Gold village, near Bokkos in central Nigeria’s Plateau state on Dec. 31, ethnic Fulani gunmen arrived and shot at the congregation. Besides killing Usman, the assault also killed a 41-year-old mother of six children and a 14-year-old girl.

“I have placed my faith in God and am waiting on Him to comfort me and keep me and these five children,” Usman’s widow told Morning Star News.

She said she and her second husband had been married for nine years.

“My first husband, Davou Philip, was killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Jol Village in Riyom Local Government Area in 2002,” she said. “I had only a son with him. However, God brought me and Kore Usman together, and we got married. God has blessed us with four children. I thought my burden has been lifted as a widow, and now, again my second husband has been killed by Muslim gunmen.”

Eyewitnesses said that as the Christians were praising God for his faithfulness in 2013, about five Muslim Fulani gunmen stormed the Christian community at about 9 p.m., shooting at the Christians gathered on the field near their worship auditorium.

The husband of the slain Naomi Tejan, 47-year-old Luka Tejan, also expressed his faith in God to Morning Star News.

“We see these killings of Christians as evil acts aimed at truncating the spread of the gospel in this country,” he said. “The devil has been using these Fulanis to kill Christians. The good thing is that we have hope that in spite of the pains, the suffering and the tears, we shall overcome in Jesus’ name.”

Of the couple’s six children, one is 25 and two are 20-year-old twins. The others are ages 12, 7 and 3.

Usman’s widow called on the gunmen to repent of their unprovoked killing of Christians.

The 14-year-old girl killed was Nandi Jamok, according to the Rev. Danlami Yatu, pastor of COCIN congregation in Maihakorin Gold village, 43 miles (69 kilometers) south of Jos. Twelve other Christians were wounded, he said, identifying them as Marium Random, 35; Tyamol Maram, 14; Uvwat James, 15; Shagul James, 32; Rita James, 8; Yibal Philemon, 8; Mashat Geofrey, 10; Macif Mabul, 17; Alex Yunana, 41; Emmanuel Ishaku, 30; Malo Marium, 50; and Victor Barnabas.

“Myself and other members of the elder board of my church were holding a meeting in the church auditorium while our parishioners were outside the church building, on the field, singing and dancing in praise worship, thanking God for his blessings on our lives throughout the year, when suddenly gunmen we believe are Muslim Fulani herdsmen shot at our members and killed the victims,” Yatu said.

It was the fourth attack on the community in the two-plus years that he has served as pastor, he added.

“During the first attack in 2011, the Muslim attackers came here and attacked homes, but they were repelled by security agents,” he said. “So also, another attack was carried out against us in 2012. A member of my church, Alex Yunana, was injured, and our church secretary too, Sunday Mabas, was attacked in his home, but he escaped unhurt miraculously.”

In the third incident, the pastor’s home and that of another church member, Joel Mafyil, were attacked, he said.

“Spirited efforts by our members in repelling the attackers saved us,” Yatu said.

The wounded Christians in the New Year’s Eve attack were being treated in the Plateau Specialist Hospital in Jos and the Barkin Ladi General Hospital, he said.

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