ABUJA, NIGERIA – The latest accounts say that some 65 people in Maiduguri, Nigeria, have died in a Boko Haram attack during a funeral in the northeastern village. Another 10 people reportedly sustained injuries, eight of who are in critical condition following Saturday’s attack.
Boko Haram was initially known as the “Nigerian Taliban” when it came into prominence in 2002. The words “Boko Haram” are from the Hausu dialect. They mean, “Western education is forbidden.” The name itself is another indication of the growing nationalistic resistance to the imperialism and colonialism that, by and large, ceased more than half-a-century ago.
According to CNN, the group refers to itself as Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, meaning “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad.” That title, rarely heard or seen in the media, carries a sinister connotation that is more descriptive of its intent as it attacks, captures, tortures, and murders innocent villagers.
In fact, the group has no apparent political affiliation. Rather, it is an independent terrorist group opposed to any government outside of Sharia law.
A local militia leader told Al Jazeera correspondents that the terrorists attacked a group of mourners at a gravesite, killing 23 of them. The other 42 who perished were among a group of villagers who attempted to pursue the attackers.
Despite their best efforts, the villagers were outnumbered and ill-equipped. The people in Maiduguri and other villages have attempted to arm themselves as local militias to protect their neighbors. The loss of life suffered in this incident may lead some to despair that the terrorists are insuperable.
The creation of local militias has stemmed from the inability of Nigerian government forces to subdue and control Boko Haram. The terrorist group has murdered 27,000 people over the past decade. More than two million people remain displaced, having fled the areas where the terrorists have been most active.
Last year, Missions Box News published the story of Leah Sharibu, a Christian schoolgirl who had been one of 100 that Boko Haram had abducted. Her captors told her they would release her once she renounced Jesus Christ. Because she did not, she remained captive while the others were released.
Although the terrorists swore they would not harm Leah, a recently released employee of Action Against Hunger, who had also been captured, indicated that Leah had been killed following an escape attempt. Authorities have not yet been able to confirm this story.
We encourage our readers to pray for those who are persecuted around the globe. Pray especially for the people of Nigeria, and that many would come to Christ as a result of the oppression they are suffering. Pray for the families who lost loved ones in Saturday’s attack. Plead with the God of Mercy to demonstrate His compassion for these people.
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