UPDATED: See video below.
The Voice of the Martyrs’ medical program is on the frontlines in Northern Nigeria, providing medical care, support and counseling to Christians following recent attacks by Muslims.
VOMedical staff report that many villages have been attacked, the latest occurring on March 17. “Muslims surrounded the small village of Byei, some 30 miles south of Jos. They attacked the homes with AK-47s (judging by the diameter of the bullet holes in the houses’ doors and according to survivors), followed by machetes and fire,” VOMedical staff said. “Thirteen people died in the attack and were buried in a mass grave just outside the village. Seven were wounded and taken to Vom Christian Hospital; five remained admitted when we visited the hospital this afternoon. Most of the wounds were gunshot wounds and burns.”
The wounds sustained by believers in this attack are severe. “The severity of the wounds is much higher than those seen in the January riots; there are very, very few with minor wounds, while more than half of the January attack wounds were minor,” VOMedical staff added. “This area has had six or seven villages attacked over the past 10 to 14 days. None of these were the typical Nigerian religious riot; all were deliberate, middle-of-the-night, well coordinated assaults.”
VOMedical staff have visited believers in hospitals and consulted with doctors to ensure they are receiving the medical treatment they require. “We were able to see numerous patients at Plateau State Specialist Hospital, one of two of the main receiving hospitals from this attack,” VOMedical staff said. “There were fewer gunshot wounds and far more machete and cutlass wounds. Muslims had sharpened their weapons before the attack, because the wounds on these folks were significantly deeper and more destructive than any of those I saw in January. The epitome was an above-the-elbow amputation on the left arm of a 4-year-old child.”
These attacks are the latest in a series of sectarian attacks and riots in recent months. In January and again in early March, Christians and Muslims rioted in several villages outside the city of Jos. Churches and homes were burned, and many Christians and Muslims were killed.
Following the attacks in Dogo Nahawa, a pastor stressed the importance of forgiveness. “He stressed that this was indeed persecution foretold by Jesus as a sign of the end times and that our duty was to carry our cross and forgive the attackers,” VOMedical said of the pastor’s comments. “This will be significant, as many of the attackers were actually long-standing members of Dogo Nahawa village and were pointing out who was Christian and which houses were Christian. The worship service was held in the village square, complete with charred, burned-out buildings in the background.”
The Voice of the Martyrs encourages you to continue praying for Nigerian believers, who live with the daily possibility of being attacked. Pray that those who lost loved ones will be comforted and that the injured will fully recover. Pray that VOMedical staff will encourage believers in Nigeria and be able to provide them with needed resources during this difficult time. Ask God to help Christians forgive their persecutors.