Nigeria’s Scattered Flock: Manasa Family

By Nathan Johnson
Nigerian bush

“Israel is a hunted sheep driven away by lions. First the king of Assyria devoured him, and now at last Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has gnawed his bones” Jeremiah 50:17

The continuous and relentless attacks led by Boko Haram and Fulani militants have pushed Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region to the brink. Responsible for hundreds of attacks and deaths every year, these groups rob entire towns of their voice and livelihood. Unwilling to be silenced, survivors share their testimonies.

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10/04/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern)Boko Haram menacingly roams northeastern Nigeria in search of those who fail to follow their strict moral code. This is especially true in Borno State, Nigeria, the birthplace of the group dedicated to the destruction of all that does not adhere to radical Islam.

Even as a young girl, Briska watched as the violence raged around her. While living in Gwoza with her siblings and mother, Boko Haram patrolled the streets, looking for specific individuals. Briska’s father was on their list.

At this time, her father, an employee of the church, was travelling for school. Three terrorists came to Briska’s home, demanding to know his whereabouts. Praying that they would be spared, her mother told them he was away for school.

“The following day they returned and killed three of my husband’s co-workers,” recounted Rifkatu, Briska’s mother. “I was frightened by that and fled to Maiduguri.” Suddenly, the birthplace of one of the most violent terrorist groups appeared safer than their home. And so began the first of many forced relocations.

While enrolled in a military-run school in Borno State’s capital city, Briska experienced the unfortunate might of Boko Haram at a mere seven years old. The insurgent group began an onslaught against the Maiduguri school. Local soldiers defended the building and its occupants and, by God’s grace, Briska and many others escaped. With Briska safe from the attack and her father finished his training, the family returned to Gwoza together.

However, the tumultuous security situation had worsened in their absence. Radicals relentlessly moved from house to house, methodically assaulting individuals.

The family’s homecoming was short-lived. Rifkatu commented, “I stayed for about six months, but life became unbearable so I left to Adamawa.” After only two months in a remote village of Adamawa, radicals found them and chased them away again. This time, they moved to Yola, the capital city of Adamawa. City by city, Briska and her family have sought safety, never finding rest.

Not much later, the community provided transportation for the family to move to Jos. Briska and her family have lived in Jos as internally displaced persons (IDPs) since 2015. Her father stayed with them briefly but, at the urging of Rifkatu, left to complete his final stage of schooling.

Since moving to Jos, Briska and her four siblings have received educational support from International Christian Concern to attend a local private Christian school. Briska is currently enrolled in Primary 5 and sees a bright future for herself. One day, she desires to become a nurse and is working diligently towards her goal.

The family continues to struggle to provide for themselves with their modest income. Despite this, Briska and her family have remained safe for the past four years. Though scattered from their home in Gwoza, they no longer struggle with a daily fear of their enemies.

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