By Michael Ireland, Senior Reporter, ASSIST News Service firstname.lastname@example.org
(ANS – BORNO STATE, NIGERIA, Feb.2, 2015) — Incessant attacks from Boko Haram militants in north-eastern Nigeria have caused over a million people to flee their homes in terror, reports Barnabas Aid (www.barnabasfund.org).
Often targeting predominantly Christian villages, residents are killed and houses are razed. Christians in northern Nigeria are also victims of repeated violence from ethnic Fulani Muslims who are responsible for killings, burning houses, and forcing Christians to flee.
Barnabas Aid says that on Sunday, January 25, the strategic Nigerian town of Maiduguri in Borno state was attacked. Earlier the same day, militants rampaged through Monguno town in the same state, burning houses to the ground. Earlier, on January 10, at least 19 people were killed in Nigeria when a 10-year-old girl was reported to have blown herself up in Maiduguri, also in Borno state. And the next day, four people were killed and over 40 injured, in attacks from two female suicide bombers in Potiskum, Yobe state, Nigeria.
The ministry says Christians living in the Cameroonian villages close to the Nigerian border document frequent attacks from Boko Haram militants who are spreading terror as they seize cattle, sheep, goats, and motorbikes; burn millet, cotton and peanut crops; and raze homes to the grounds.
It explained that Cameroon continues to receive tens of thousands of Nigerians fleeing the almost daily attacks in the north-eastern states. According to the International Organization for Migration, as of December 23, over a million Nigerians had been displaced as a result of Boko Haram attacks, with at least 912,000 internally displaced and the remainder spilling over into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
According to the ministry, the numbers of displaced Nigerians will have increased in the five weeks since then, not least because of the huge attack on the Nigerian town of Baga on January 3 in which hundreds were killed and thousands forced to flee. An estimated 3,400 people from Baga fled to Chad. The total number of Nigerians newly uprooted in the ten days to 13 January is around 7,900.
But Barnabas Aid says Boko Haram is not the only threat to Nigerian Christians. Ethnic Fulani Muslims frequently attack villages where residents are mainly Christian, burning churches and houses, and killing the inhabitants.
Barnabas Fund is helping Christian victims of violence and is helping to support displaced Nigerian Christians including those who have fled to Cameroon, where the ministry has recently provided 1,400 families with millet to eat and mosquito nets, soap, bleach, buckets and mats (average cost per family £38.50 (€52; US$58; AU$74; NZ$80).
In an online update, the ministry says: “In Nigeria’s Kaduna state, we are assisting 350 displaced Christian families, many of them small-scale farmers who have now lost their land. Unable to harvest their crops, they need food aid. Barnabas is providing food packages containing rice, corn, cooking oil, salt and stock cubes. Using mud, the families are building houses for themselves, and Barnabas is providing metal sheeting, wood and nails for the roofs.”
Nigerian Christian victims of violence who received emergency kits from Barnabas after earlier attacks were “full of praises to God for the gift items from their unseen Christian family.” One of the ministry’s local partner organizations in Nigeria said, “You have proven to us that the Body of Christ is one!”
Photo: Damage caused in Kaduna state, Nigeria, after Fulani Muslims attacked the Christians (Courtesy Barnabas Aid)