In the beginning of 2010, we reported that Muslim radicals had raided villages in Jos, Nigeria and slaughtered more than 500 Christians – mostly women and children. This attack was followed by other smaller outbreaks of violence as persecution continued to escalate against Christians in Nigeria. Nine months later, while Christians around the world were celebrating Christmas Eve, believers in the Nigerian cities of Jos and Madiuguri spent the night in mourning.
Thirty-eight people were killed when explosions rocked the city of Jos (the city’s name is an acronym for Jesus Our Savior) – a death toll which increased to more than 80 following ensuing clashes between Muslim and Christian youth.
The city of Madiguri mourned the loss of six believers who were brutally murdered when Islamists attacked two area churches. Pastor Bulus Marwa of Victory Baptist Church was martyred along with four other members of his congregation – Philip Luka, Paul Mathew, Christopher Balami and Yohana Adamu.
The church’s secretary, who escaped the attack, said, “I cannot understand these attacks. Why Christians? Why Christians? The police have failed to protect us.”
One other Christian was killed in the attack on the Church of Christ in Nigeria.
A Muslim group, Jama’atu Ahlus-Sunnah Lidda’Awati Wal Jihad, took responsibility for the bombings in Jos. The group, whose name translates into English as “the organization of followers of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and champions of Islam and holy wars,” said that it was “avenging the atrocities committed against Muslims in those areas, and the country in general.” Members of the group warned that “we will continue with our attacks on disbelievers and their allies and all those who help them.”
Please continue to keep our brothers and sisters in Nigeria in prayer. Unfortunately, unlike many areas where Christians are persecuted, Christians in Jos have also been involved in attacks against Muslims. We understand the human impulse to take revenge when such horrific attacks occur with impunity, but as Christians we are strongly warned against taking vengeance into our own hands.