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Nigeria: Boko Haram kill 80+ but President says ‘war against terror won’

Boko Haram slaughtered more than eighty people in a series of attacks the week after President Buhari suggested his army had ‘technically won the war.’ The Global Terror Report 2015 places Nigeria third on their list of 124 countries, and says that Boko Haram are ‘deadlier than IS, having killed more people’. Buhari had previously vowed to drive out the terror group from the country by December. He now suggests they have ‘technically’ been defeated as they revert to using improvised explosive devices and indoctrinating children. Meanwhile a refugee camp with 2,500 temporary homes for refugees fleeing Boko Haram now hosts close to one million. 2.5 million people have been internally displaced due to Boko Haram's various attacks. Reports suggest that women have been forced to carry out suicide bombings for the terrorists, who have become notorious for kidnapping thousands of women and girls from towns and villages.

Pray: for God to comfort the victims of violence and terrorism and help them to overcome fear. (Jn.16:33)
More: www.christianpost.com/news/boko-haram-slaughters-80-people-president-says-hes-won-the-war-against-terror-153643/

The future Anglican Church - C of E Primates' gathering from 11 to 16 January

The Archbishop of Canterbury has invited all Primates to a meeting next week to reflect and pray about the future Anglican Church. The agenda is likely to include: -religiously-motivated violence -the protection of children and vulnerable adults -the environment -human sexuality. The meeting will be an opportunity to review structures of the Anglican Communion and decide on an approach to the next Lambeth Conference. There are factions within the Anglican community worldwide. Some believe there is a need to replace it with a much looser grouping, allowing North America, which recognises and encourages gay marriage, and the African churches (led by Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria), which are against all homosexual activity, to separate. Justin Welby suggested there is a need to consider recent developments, look afresh at ways of working in unity while paying attention to past developments. Pray for the church to move forward proclaiming the gospel, making disciples and living in holiness in spite of pressures that vary greatly between Provinces.

Pray: for the authority and discernment God has given His church to interpret Scripture correctly, allow the Holy Spirit to guide and do the things that Jesus did to remain undiluted and unchanged. (Is.1:2)
More: www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5613/archbishop-of-canterbury-calls-for-primates-gathering

Religious persecution at Christma

Christians in some nations have faced intense persecution over the Christmas period in the past. Pray for protection of Christians and churches from bombings, beatings and imprisonment. Over the Christmas and New Year period of 2014/15 three states in Nigeria experienced bombings, beheadings and beatings by militants, resulting in dozens of Christians being killed. On Christmas day last year in Iran, nine Christians were arrested in a raid on a house, and the next day a prominent Assyrian pastor was arrested at his home, along with about fourteen others present for a Christmas celebration. Pray for Christians in places like North Korea and Saudi Arabia to know that God will strengthen His people there and help them find fellowship.

Pray: for God to remove all fear and strengthen them with His peace. (Ps.46:1)
More: www.releaseinternational.org/persecution-intensifies-over-christmas-and-new-year/

Nigeria: blast in Nigeria kills 32, wounds 80

Not long after IS terrorists hit Paris, Boko Haram terrorists hit Nigeria. An explosion hit a fruit and vegetable stand in the city of Yola in northeastern Nigeria. Thirty-two people lost their lives and eighty were wounded, according to reports from the Red Cross and the National Emergency Management Agency. The attack bore all the hallmarks of Boko Haram, who have killed thousands in Nigeria and surrounding countries in its quest to enforce Sharia law. Just as President Obama had commented that IS had been ‘contained’ days before the Paris attacks, a few days before the Nigerian attacks President Muhammadu Buhari visited Yola and stated that Boko Haram was losing strength and would soon be defeated. Both attacks serve as a reminder that terrorism remains a real threat that must be addressed. According to Christian Today, Boko Haram began its military campaign in 2009 and has recently joined IS as its African arm.

Pray: for all those affected by this latest attack, especially those who have lost relatives. Pray for God to protect Nigeria’s public places, bus stations, markets and churches. (Is.31:5a)
More: www.christianheadlines.com/blog/boko-haram-attack-kills-dozens-in-nigeria.html

Nigerian troops rescue over 330 women and children held by Boko Haram

On Tuesday the Nigerian army freed 192 children and 138 women from Boko Haram's Sambisa forest stronghold in the volatile northeast. It was not clear if any of the Chibok schoolgirls were among those rescued. Troops also killed thirty suspected jihadists and seized a cache of arms and ammunition in the area. The freed hostages were moved to a camp for displaced persons in nearby Adamawa State. The army also said four Boko Haram suspects on a suicide bombing mission to Gubula town in Adamawa State were ambushed and killed by government troops. Some weapons, unexploded ordnances, mortar bombs, and cash were recovered from the suspects. In recent months the Nigerian military has claimed a string of successes against Boko Haram. The air force said on Tuesday that it had launched strikes on the group's vehicle and fuel depots ‘in a renewed drive to further degrade its assets’.

Praise: God for these encouraging successes against the six-year insurgency. May terror end soon in Nigeria. (Ps.118:25)
More: news.yahoo.com/nigerian-troops-rescue-338-people-held-boko-haram-094437751.html

Nigeria: ‘She Is in the hands of God’

Twelve fathers of the 200+ schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram from Chibok spoke out about the dangers their families face on a daily basis, and shared their pain of not knowing what has happened to their daughters. They are refusing to give up hope that one day they will return to them. One of the fathers, when asked, 'Where do you think your daughter might be?' said, 'She is in the hands of God'. It was a sentiment echoed by all the parents. They are not going to think about any other reality. Despite the media attention on Chibok, the whole region remains under heavy threat by the Islamic militants. Some of the fathers sneak out at night to be the first line of defence against Boko Haram and to protect their families. The challenge to international organisations is that Chibok is incredibly dangerous to reach. Earlier this month it was reported that one of the schoolgirls was pregnant and carrying diseases by Boko Haram terrorists. See:

Pray: for the girls suffering greatly under the jihadists, for the families in despair, for the communities living in fear. Pray that the government will know what to do next. (Is.25:3,4a)
More: www.christianpost.com/news/chibok-schoolgirls-nigeria-bring-back-our-girls-148229/

Nigeria: Abuja hit by more bomb blasts

A series of explosions on the outskirts of the Nigerian capital Abuja killed at least 18 people last Friday. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) reported a further 41 people were wounded by the blasts. The first two struck Kuje township; one by a suicide bomber near a police station, the other a bomb at a market. Another bomb exploded at a bus stop in Nyanya. More than 40 people were injured in the blasts, which security officials described as co-ordinated. This year, security forces have managed to reclaim most of the territory captured by Boko Haram fighters and have freed a number of people kidnapped, but militant attacks have intensified. The victims would have been normal working-class people who were going about their business in the streets, in the market-place or waiting for a bus.

Pray: for the families of the bereaved and injured to know God’s peace and comfort. (Is.51:12)
More: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-34431259

Nigeria: 500 days since Chibok abductions

The president of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria said that 176 of the girls kidnapped from Chibok by Boko Haram last year are from families in his denomination. Reverend Samuel Dali’s revelation coincided with a Global Week of Action to commemorate 500 days since their abductions. Reverend Dali said that 8,000+ members of his church had lost their lives, and 70% of church facilities in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States had been destroyed during the Boko Haram crisis. In addition 90,000 church members have been displaced by terrorist violence. Last week the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign had a Global Week of Action commemorating the 500th day since the Chibok girls disappeared. The week included prayers, tree planting in honour of the girls, meetings with the Chief of Defence Staff and the National Human Rights Commission, and a march and candle-lit procession in Abuja.

Pray: for the unconditional release of the Chibok girls and the many others kidnapped in the north-east of the country. (Ps.37:9)
More: www.csw.org.uk/2015/08/26/press/2741/article.htm

Nigeria: Clergy conduct more funerals than weddings

A bishop in Plateau state, Nigeria, said that during the last fifteen years he has conducted more funerals than weddings. Addressing hundreds of demonstrators at the Plateau House of Assembly on 31 August, the Rt Rev Benjamin Kwashi, Anglican archbishop of Jos, said the Christian funerals resulted from attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen working with Boko Haram jihadists. ‘As a pastor, since 2001 I have conducted more burial services of those killed through attacks than weddings and naming ceremonies. It's sad to note that most victims are harmless children, infants, women and youths. The Nigerian government must end the killings. Attention should not be concentrated in the northeast alone, as people are being killed here in Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa and Kaduna states.’ A protestor at the event said the Nigerian government's silence about the killings shows its silent support for the ongoing jihad against Nigeria's Christians.

Pray: for God to protect Christian villages from ethnic Fulani herdsmen, and for His people to have a deep sense of peace in their spirits regardless of all that is going on around them. (Pr.2:8,21)
More: www.worthynews.com/21690-nigeria-clergy-conduct-more-funerals-than-weddings

Nigeria: Another bomb blast as Boko Haram has a new leader

On Tuesday 47 traders were killed and at least 50 others injured when terrorists invaded the Sabon Gari community market of Damboa, 85 miles south of Maiduguri, during peak trading. The injuries from the blast are mostly ‘severe’ and the death toll is expected to rise. Borno State Police Command has said that Boko Haram is not winning the war and insurgents are fleeing to neighbouring Niger, Cameroon and Chad in order to attack soft targets in the sub-region. Meanwhile on Wednesday, Chad's President Idriss Deby said that Boko Haram has a new leader. He said Abubakar Shekau had been replaced by Mahamat Daoud - who has not been heard of before. Mr Shekau has not featured in the group's recent videos, leading to speculation that he has been killed. Mr Deby, whose troops have been involved in battling Boko Haram, said Mr Daoud was open to dialogue. See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-33889378

Pray: for God to intervene and lead negotiations between leaders for a peaceful solution to this war. (Is.2:2)
More: www.theadvocatengr.com/over-47-killed-in-borno-market-bomb-blast/

Nigeria: Promised extra aid from US blocked

On Monday President Barack Obama met Nigeria's new leader Muhammadu Buhari and discussed ongoing plans to defeat Boko Haram. Obama praised Buhari's integrity and Buhari claimed to have a very clear agenda in defeating Boko Haram extremists inside his country. The Obama administration has pledged $5 million to Nigeria's military since Buhari's election earlier this year. Obama said Nigeria is ‘one of the most important countries’ in Africa, and he and Buhari discussed combatting corruption, public health concerns and climate change. On Wednesday it was discovered that the US Leahy Law which prevents the government selling arms to countries which fail to tackle human rights abuses applies to Nigeria. However the Nigerian military does not possess appropriate weapons and technology to address the ‘human rights violations’, and the agreement between the two presidents would have released this technology to Nigeria. On Thursday President Buhari said, ‘Unwittingly, and I dare say unintentionally, the application of the Leahy Law Amendment by the United States government has aided and abetted the Boko Haram terrorists.’

Pray: that God will cement this partnership. Pray for appropriate military technical support and help to rebuild damaged communities in north-east Nigeria. (Ps.127:1)
More: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-33634607

Global: Christians around the world - dying for Christ

When a Nigerian pastor learned that his daughter, kidnapped by Boko Haram, refused to convert to Islam he said, ‘To die for the sake of Christ, that's the happiest thing for me. I'm grateful that she didn't change her religion. She trusted in God’. He was told that the terrorists dug a hole, buried her up to her neck, and stoned her to death. His wife added, ‘I believe she died with dignity. Monica is now in heaven because she refused to convert.’ The widow of one of the 21 Egyptian Christians beheaded by IS last February has made a similar statement, testifying that she ‘was very proud’ her husband ‘stood firm in his faith and that he didn't deny Jesus.’ Many believe that Christians in the West will face increasing persecution in coming years. In January Britain's security chief warned that al-Qaeda is planning ‘mass casualty attacks against the West.’

Pray: that Christians everywhere will continue to feed on the Word of God, develop their relationship with Jesus are filled with the Holy Spirit and will continue to stand in the face of opposition. (Eph.6:13)
More: http://www.christianheadlines.com/columnists/denison-forum/father-rejoices-that-daughter-died-for-christ.html

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