Increasing Attacks on Christians in Borno State Go Unreported
03/14/2019 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that earlier today, around 6:00 a.m., Boko Haram insurgents launched an attack on Ngurhlavu village of Lassa in Askira-Uba local council area of southern Borno State. Most of the villagers were able to flee into the bush, but the insurgents burned down six homes, destroyed the EYN Church (Church of the Brethren), killed one person, and abducted two sisters, Stella Ibrahim and Plungwa Ibrahim.
Recalling the attack, a senior executive of the EYN Church, who wished to remain anonymous, said that their local pastor called around 6:00 a.m. to report the attack. He shared, “I could hear desperation in his voice, just coming out of the bush. His voice sounded completely demoralized as he was saying only God… We don’t know what else to do! There’s no security presence here.” The insurgents dropped a concealed improvised explosive device which a church member named Avi Lassa stepped on. Avi was killed on the spot.
Lamenting the spate of repeated, violent attacks, the senior church leader said, “These frequent attacks on churches and [their] members are really weighing us down. These attacks seem to be escalating soon after the elections.” Nigeria’s presidential elections took place in late February, but has seen violence even in the build-up to Election Day.
The leader said that members of the EYN Church in the village of Gwandang were attacked on February 2, 2019. This was shortly followed by another set of attacks in the village of Paya-Bulguma on February 7 and 21, during which 26 houses were burned down, large quantities of food supplies were destroyed, and motorbikes and other valuables were stolen or destroyed. A seven-year-old boy was also abducted and has not been heard from since.
The church leader regrets that these attacks are rarely reported on by the local media anymore. As a result, their people continue to suffer in silence, with minimal help from others.
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