NGOs Are Under Attack in Nigeria

ABUJA – Conducting charitable humanitarian work in any developing country or crisis situation is difficult at best. Working in disease or conflict-ridden regions is not only hard but sometimes downright dangerous.This is rapidly becoming the scenario for NGOs working in strife-torn Nigeria where Boko Haram rebels are attempting to establish the Islamic State in West Africa Province under their own control.

Nigeria currently ranks 12th on the World Watch List where Christians suffer the greatest persecution and may move higher on Open Doors annual list.

NGOs typically offer their assistance to those in need without demonstrating favoritism or choosing sides. Action Against Hunger and Mercy Corps have been targeted recently by both the Nigerian government and the rebels.

Officials have closed the offices of both NGOs and demanded that they leave the country. Unconfirmed reports indicate that their crime was providing food and medical aid to the rebels just as they have been doing for villagers and thousands of displaced families.

Boko Haram kidnapped six Action Against Hunger workers, ultimately beheading one of them because they believed the government was negotiating with the rebel group deceptively. Kidnappings and assassinations are hallmarks of the radical Islamic sect.

The rebels have vowed to kill the remaining five hostages if the government does not comply with the group’s demands.

The latest news out of Nigeria is that rebel forces have executed two indigenous Christian aid workers from the Church of Christ in Nigeria. The young men were helping to build shelters in a displaced person camp when they were captured.

Discovering that the men were Christians, the rebels summarily murdered them in an orchestrated execution that was later posted in a video online.

The message of the video was that beginning now, the rebels will kill every Christian they capture. It does not appear that their threat is limited to NGO workers, although any still in the country are there at considerable risk.

Nigeria currently ranks 12th on the World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the greatest persecution. If Boko Haram makes good on its threats, Nigeria may move higher on Open Doors annual list.

The United States Council on International Religious Freedom agrees that Christians are the most persecuted people in the world. Pray for the safety of all who are faithful followers of Christ at home and around the globe.


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