Last Wednesday, Boko Haram carried out their bloodiest attack this year in northeast Nigeria, according to Amnesty International in a statement to Daily Post. Gunfire and three suicide attacks in Maiduguri killed 17 and injured at least 34 people.
Some of the attacks targeted other Muslims in the community, as explosions detonated in and around the local mosques. David Taylor with Christian Aid Mission says this isn’t surprising, considering Boko Haram’s extremist ideology.
“Boko Haram doesn’t spare anybody. They’ve been attacking both Christians and Muslims, and now that Christians have been driven out of the area, their attack is primarily affecting Muslim people.”
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has said several times he considers the threat of Boko Haram to be contained. And while it’s true that the Nigerian government has made significant advances to push back Boko Haram militants and reclaim territory, the Muslim extremist group continues to commit heinous crimes in their goal to establish an Islamic caliphate in the nation.
“The people we’re working with on the ground are telling us that what Boko Haram has done is they’ve kind of adapted to the new situation. Their main places, their main bases of operation have been destroyed, but what they’re doing now is they’re operating from more remote areas in a more guerilla warfare style. So they’re going in and doing surprise attacks like what we saw just recently, and then they retreat back into the forest and into remote areas. So it’s difficult to predict when they will strike and it’s difficult to pursue them because they do it in a very quick way.”
Christian Aid has even witnessed Boko Haram’s effect on their ministry partner’s outreach. “The ministry partner we have been working with, they have been operating in this northeast part of Nigeria for about 20 years, and they had about five mission bases in the area. They’ve had to close down four of them.”
Loving Nigeria’s Affected Children
Currently, one of the biggest initiatives Taylor says could use your support and prayers is the ongoing ministry to Nigerian children who have been traumatized.
“Boko Haram, their very name literally means ‘Western education is bad, is evil’, so they very specifically target education. They take over schools, they use them as bases of operation, so kids are afraid. They’re afraid to go to school, they’re afraid they could be attacked at any time. Imagine growing up in this environment.
“The ministry partners we work with are very specifically helping kids work through trauma and helping them get into education programs that are safe for them and safe environments. But this is going to leave a whole generation of young people scarred from what they’ve seen. God can use that though. God can use the contrast with the love of His people reaching out.”
And please be in prayer for the children and families who have been devastated by Boko Haram’s attacks. Pray that God would draw near to them and that they would find comfort in the arms of their Heavenly Father.
Pray also for the eyes of Boko Haram fighters to be opened to their need for God’s grace and forgiveness.