by Carl Hill, co-director, Nigeria Crisis Response
Many stories are coming out of Nigeria concerning the violence in the Northeast part of the country. This is where the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, has been carrying out a destructive campaign to eliminate all who oppose their plan to create an Islamic “Caliphate” in this mostly Muslim populated region. Christians, especially those associated with EYN, have been one of the major targets of this uncontained violence. Killings, kidnappings, burning of villages and looting are just a part of their fear tactics bent on clearing the area of all opposition. Moderate Muslims are not safe either.
Here, in America, it is difficult to know which news stories are accurate and which ones are just exaggerations? After being in Nigeria over the last two years, our opinion is that much of what we read in the papers and on-line in not totally reliable. For instance, many of the news stories published comes from reporters based in Abuja (the Capitol) or Lagos (a large modern city located in the far South West of the country). This would be like getting breaking stories of Ferguson, Missouri from a reporter based in Miami, Florida or Los Angeles, California? While the story may have some basis in fact, more reliable reporting would come from a reporter much closer to the scene of action.
One of the things we are trying to provide with blog posts is to publish stories from our people in Nigeria! This could be a human interest story from American volunteers (like Cliff Kindy who is there now) or from Nigerians who have proven to us to be reliable sources of information.
Last week, many of you read about a massacre in a border town called Baga. Reports came in that the worst massacre in this long struggle took place there? I contacted our man in Nigeria, knowing that he had connections in both the Muslim community as well as the Christian one. Below is his communication he sent regarding events in Baga and the surrounding area. The bottom line is that the situation in Northern Nigeria remains very unstable. As the Church, we need to continue to pray for all those embroiled in this senseless violence. This includes the misguided members of the Boko Haram. It appears that only through the intervention of God Himself will this crisis ever find resolution.
Greetings to you from cold Jos.
Baga is a town that majors in fish business. Most of the fish we get from Chad basin comes through Baga. Baga is a big border (town) where most forces have their offices there. Forces from Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria (have been reported) to be there. My junior brother from Maiduguri told me that the whole town was overrun by BH (Boko Haram) and many people were killed. Since the beginning of August to December most Christians left the town because of fear and (the) threat from BH.
About the kidnapping and killing: No forces will tell you the number of casualties because most of the military have run away, but we got some information from a few Muslims that are there. Probably more than 200 people left dead and kidnappings have been going on daily. The movement for forceful recruitment into BH for young people is almost everywhere now. Women are kidnapped from almost every village and town. The towns of Michika, Madagali, Gwoza and all other towns under the control of BH are facing kidnappings.
People that escaped from their custody will narrate their ordeal. God is helping lots of people coming out from different BH camps. Yola is collecting more and more people again. Jos and Abuja is the final destination.
We have been working on reducing people in my house (at last count there was over 40) but we are getting more from Cameroon though most of them are in transit.
Na gode sosai (which means: “I thank you very much”)