Nigeria's Victims Of Anti Christian Violence Remembered

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

By Worthy News Africa Service

ABUJA/LONDON (Worthy News)-- Christians from all denominations will attend prayer services in Nigeria and Britain Friday, September 11, to remember last month's Islamic attacks against especially Nigerian Christians in which over 1,000 people died, organizers of the gatherings said.

The services, which will take place at Abuja’s Ecumenical Center and at St Marylebone Anglican Church in London, are being coordinated by the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and Nigerian clergymen in London, Worthy News learned Tuesday, September 8.

"As well as commemorating the victims of violence and expressing solidarity, both services will highlight" attacks by the militant group Boko Haram against the Christian community, said Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), an advocacy group involved in Friday's events.

It said that, "Over 1000 people are thought to have died after Boko Haram launched a series of attacks in [the states of] Bauchi, Yobe, Kano and Borno of northern Nigeria last month."


In the Borno State capital of Maiduguri, militants reportedly held a combined force of police and army units at bay for four days and seized numerous hostages, including several hundred Christians for "use as human shields at their besieged headquarters" CSW said.

It comes amid international concerns over rising Islamic extremism in the country and reports that a captured Boko fighter has admitted receiving weapons and explosives training in Afghanistan.

Reverend Canon Ben Enwuchola, the London event host, said in a statement that he was shocked about last month's violence. "In 1987, I ferried victims of religious violence from the university in Kano to hospital. It is shocking that over twenty years later, Nigeria’s cyclical religious violence has neither been recognised nor adequately addressed."

He urged Christians to pray for "lasting peace and reconciliation between the religious communities of northern and central Nigeria." CSW National Director Stuart Windsor said it was crucial that "those who suffer will be given a voice and that there might be an end to the violence that has torn at the heart" of Africa's most populous nation.

Nigeria's 140 million population is divided between Christians in the south, and Muslims mainly in the north, where 12 of the 36 states adopted Islamic sharia law in 2000, adding to religious tensions.