Flee for Your Lives: Elderly Woman Breaks Both Hands in Nigeria | Persecution

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Flee for Your Lives: Elderly Woman Breaks Both Hands in Nigeria

By Nathan Johnson
Nigerian bush

04/24/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern)We were asleep when we heard gunshots! We woke up suddenly and began to flee!

At 2:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 5, the 250 residents of Lawe village slept soundly in their beds. At that same time, gunmen drove to Lawe to destroy, steal and kill. Elsie, a 60-year old widow, described the horrors of that night.  After the gunmen struck Lawe village, firing sporadically and breaking down doors, many of the residents fled for safety.

Elsie’s home is a pair of round huts located a little distant from the main cluster of houses that make up the village center. She woke from sleep to the frightful rattle of gunfire. She recalled, “We woke up suddenly, and began to flee.” That time of the night in rural Nigeria is covered by true darkness. The lack of electricity and lights meant the residents had no way to see clearly as they ran, but also meant that they were concealed. They dashed in the direction of the stream hopeful to cross over to safety. “After we crossed the stream, I had a fall and fractured both hands right there,” Elsie recalled. She had tripped on a stone and fell forward with her full weight and landed on both hands. There, she laid in fear and pain. She couldn’t run anymore.

The gunmen’s attack was swift. By the end of the attack, they had severely injured five individuals. These five included young men throughout the village who are now trying to survive with gunshot wounds. It got quiet after just a couple of hours. When it seemed the attackers had left, Elsie called out for help. “Eventually some persons came over and helped me.  They took me to Kikan village, to a traditional bone fracture therapist, to help reset the fractured bones.” Elsie was at that local treatment center for about three weeks. She did not contemplate going to a regular hospital because she couldn’t afford the cost. “I have had no other assistance,” she disclosed. Three weeks later, she had yet to have a bath.

Elsie is a subsistence farmer. That’s all she had been doing to raise her seven children all these years.  She had labored as a widow and borne the burden of raising her children since her husband died 15 years ago. Her last daughter, Faith, testified of her mother: “My mother has been an inspiration to us, and to me in particular because I grew up not knowing and seeing my father. Mama struggled to see me grow, from my early age till now, single-handedly. We are seven in number – four males, three females. Mama is a virtuous woman I grew up to know; a very dedicated Christian. She has been my role-model, a great Mother indeed!

The other children’s names are: Henry, Comfort, Mark, Mishel, Victor and Forgive.

Elsie is a member of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, Lawe village. She is the leader of the Widows Fellowship in the Church. Her Pastor, Reverend Edmond Ezekiel, praised her devotion: “Mrs. Elsie is a devoted member of my Church, and a very dedicated member of the Widows Fellowship group of the Church. She also doubles as a Sanctuary keeper. She usually sweeps the Church. The Church has felt her absence since she had the fracture. She has served her Lord well even as a widow.

Though Elsie is gradually recovering, she still has much difficulty in helping herself. Once seated, she can’t stand on her own because any pressure on her hands causes immense pain. The hardship was visible on her face as she related her story.

Lawe village is in Numan Local Council Area, Southern Adamawa, but it is distantly located at the boundary with Taraba State. It takes about two and half hours’ driving on rough terrain rural road to access Numan, the main town of the Local Council. Area. Both Taraba and Southern Adamawa have suffered numerous deadly attacks by Fulani herdsmen’s militants spanning about a decade and still happening. Communities like Lawe that are located in the far interiors are neglected in terms of government security protection. These Christian communities have become increasingly impoverished due to the unsettled nature of existence in the violent-prone region.

Please consider partnering with ICC as we try to help women like Elsie around the world. You can help by being in constant prayer for health and safety for those living in countries with persecution, or by donating to our Rescue Fund.

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