More than 3,000 members of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria have been killed by terrorist forces.
The church — known as Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, or EYN — reported Sept. 29 that attacks by the Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram have forced it to close 26 of 50 district councils after 3,038 members were killed.
Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries received a report from EYN president Samuel Dali warning of the possibility of “genocide” of Christians in northern Nigeria.
Terrorist attacks on some villages, including places well known to Brethren, are happening weekly, with little or no resistance from security agents.
“EYN is severely damaged by the terrorists in many ways,” Dali wrote in an email. “The whole Lardin Gabas, the historical center of EYN, has been almost destroyed. So, continue to pray so that the Lord can increase our faith and give the strength to bear the suffering.”
“No one can tell you what exactly is the situation in the areas controlled by the Boko Haram fighters,” Dali wrote. “The people they have killed [are] still uncounted and not buried.”
Dali has been traveling to visit and help families find safe places and to attend meetings since the EYN headquarters was evacuated in August. He said 156 local church councils or parishes have been closed. Eight pastors have been killed, and 180 members have been kidnapped. Nearly half of the 156 local church councils and 21 local church branches have been burned down. More than 2,287 houses belonging to EYN members have been burned.
As a result, Dali reported, 280 EYN pastors and evangelists are displaced without sources of income to feed their families. They are among 96,000 Nigerian Brethren displaced, living as refugees in other parts of Nigeria or Cameroon.
“In spite of our peace-loving nature, EYN is the greatest single denomination that the Islamic fundamentalists, the so-called Boko Haram group, has almost successfully wiped out of existence in many local government areas of Borno, part of Yobe and Adamawa states,” said Dali in a Sept. 29 address to the Christian Association of Nigeria.
“When will this madness stop? What is Nigeria’s government doing to protect and save the lives of the remnant? And what are we doing as national and global members of Christ’s body? May God have mercy on us, the victims and the victors.”