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NIGERIA: GOOD NEWS & BAD

GOOD NEWS — The Nigerian military Joint Task Force (JTF) has had some significant successes against Boko Haram. On Monday 17 September, in a joint operation in Kano with State Security Services (SSS), Boko Haram’s spokesman and media coordinator, Abu Qaqa, was killed and two senior leaders were captured. The next day the JTF seized control of Boko Haram’s command and control centre in Kano. The heavily booby-trapped hideout was full of bomb-making equipment, weapons, motorbikes, computer equipment, a generator and numerous Islamic religious books.

On 20 September the JTF reported it had killed two senior Boko Haram militants in Maiduguri and uncovered a well-equipped operations base and a substantial weapons cache that included 39 primed Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). On 23 September, after a gun battle in Damaturu, a JTF operation culminated in the death of 35 militants, the arrest of 60, and the recovery of a large cache of weapons. On 25 September one senior Boko Haram leader was killed and 156 militants arrested in a JTF operation in Adamawa. A huge weapons cache was recovered, including some 300 IEDs. Please thank God and continue to pray for a breakthrough against Boko Haram.

BAD NEWS — On Sunday night 2 September Boko Haram militants, armed with explosives and petrol bombs, torched the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) in Marte, 140km north of Maiduguri. At 9am on Sunday 23 September a suicide bomber drove to St John’s Catholic Church in Bauchi intending to detonate his explosives inside the church grounds. However, all cars and worshippers were being screened for security at barricades well outside the church perimeter.

Realising he would not gain access to the church the bomber rammed his car directly into the queue of worshippers and detonated, killing a woman and an eight-year-old boy, and wounding a further 48 people. Please continue to uphold the Nigerian Church in prayer. This is very much a spiritual battle.

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