NIGERIA — Ayuba’s* father was killed by Boko Haram militants in 2020. Ayuba swore to take revenge on the man who had betrayed his father to the militants – but has found healing through a trauma centre, supported by Open Doors.
*Ayuba is portrayed by an actor and his name has been changed for security purposes
In Nigeria, more Christians are killed for their faith than in all the other countries of the world combined.
For Ayuba, that is not just a statistic, but a tragic reality that struck his family in April 2020.
At around 6pm, word spread that Boko Haram was approaching our town. So my dad called me to go back home. Usually when we hear one gunshot, we know it’s the army, but when the shooting becomes rapid, we know it’s Boko Haram. We heard one shot and thought it was the soldiers, so we just remained at home.
But then a neighbor came to warn them that it was in fact Boko Haram, that they had killed a man and set a house ablaze. Ayuba and his siblings fled the extremist attack, while their father stayed to help their elderly grandmother.
I crossed over the fence and my brother was passing our siblings to me through the fence. At that very moment, my fear was that they might come and find us as we were doing that.
We ran until we crossed a river behind our village. Our mother’s sister was in the house with our grandmother, but they are Muslims. When Boko Haram came into the house, they grabbed our father and held a torch to him and asked someone behind them if he was the one they were looking for. And he said yes, he is the one. So they took him with them and he kept asking them what his offense was, but they didn’t reply.
They brought him outside and put him on his knees. And according to what our auntie told us, he was asked to read a passage from the Quran. But he told them that he was not a Muslim. They laid him down and cut him.
Ayuba and his siblings slept by the riverbank and the next morning returned to find their father’s body.
When I came and knelt down beside his body, I put my hands on him and I said, “God, I am grateful. You have given and you have taken away. May my father rest together with you.” That was my prayer.
The family couldn’t stay in the village. Boko Haram had made a list of targets and Ayuba’s own name was on it.
We left the town the day my father was buried, but later we went back. My grandmother was ill and I wanted to go to the chemist to get her some medication.
On my way to the chemist, I was told not to go because my life was in danger. And I asked why I couldn’t go, but they didn’t tell me.
As I left, they told my people that some soldiers said my name was included in the list, along with my father and the person whose house was burned.
Ayuba was so angered by the attack and so keen for revenge that he always carried around a knife. But Open Doors heard about the situation and invited Ayuba and his siblings to receive care at the trauma centre.
Honestly, if I had not come for this seminar, I don’t know how I would have ended up. On the third day, a story was shared with us about a man whose wife died. And whenever he went out and saw a woman, he went back inside and he cried, and it pained him more.
So I thought to myself, what use is it going around with a knife, seeking revenge and always feeling hurt, and my mind never being at peace. So I decided to let go of my anger and have peace. I realized that God brought me here to heal me.
About Open Doors UK
Open Doors is a non-denominational mission that supports persecuted Christians in over 70 countries where Christianity is socially or legally discouraged or oppressed. In their work, they provide vital support, training, and resources to those facing persecution or discrimination.
Resources that they provide include distributing Bibles and literature, running leadership training, assisting with socio-economic development and intercessory prayer. They also help victims of violence and disaster, including widows and orphans, with practical support such as relief aid, livelihood support, and community development projects.
Their vision is of a world in which every Christian who is persecuted is remembered and supported by other Christians. They pray for a world where there is no persecution.
Source: Global News Alliance, Ayuba’s Trauma Healing After Losing Father