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Christians pray after Nigeria massacre


Members of Churches of Christ in the African nation of Nigeria are rattled but safe after a series of brutal slayings in villages near the city of Jos.
 
“In Jos city, where we are, there is a completely enforced curfew, so things like what happened Sunday are very unlikely to occur here,” said Dr. Bob Whittaker, who moved to the central Nigerian city just weeks ago with his wife, Annette and son, Ozioma.
For nearly 25 years Whittaker served as a medical missionary at Nigerian Christian Hospital near Aba, south of Jos. In August 2009 he endured a 48-hour kidnapping ordeal, during which he suffered a gunshot wound to the arm. Whittaker has since received a nerve graft in a U.S. hospital. He completed a medical mission trip to Haiti before returning to Nigeria and relocating his ministry to Jos.
 
Jos, a city of about a half-million people, sits near the divide between Nigeria’s predominantly Christian south and Muslim north. Local officials counted 378 bodies after the recent massacres in four villages near Jos, The Wall Street Journal reported.
 
The attacks, focused mainly on people who claim Christianity as their faith, likely was a reprisal for similar attacks in January, when Christian villagers targeted Muslims, killing at least 300, according to the newspaper.
Though the groups involved in the conflicts claim different faiths, tribal divisions have fueled the violence, Whittaker said.
 
“What’s happening here looks on the surface like ethnic cleansing,” he said, “and the so-called Christians are involved in it too.”
 
The Wall Street Journal reported that a pastor of a Church of Christ in Nigeria lost his wife and daughter in the recent attacks. The Church of Christ in Nigeria is a denomination “which is not the same as the Church of Christ we know,” Whittaker said. “Still, pray for the family.”
 
Several Churches of Christ meet in Jos, and church members operate a ministry training facility there. No deaths or injuries were reported among church members.
 
“What is happening here is a symptom of … lawless men (who) feel they can get away without facing punishment for their crimes,” Whittaker said. The physician asked church members around the world to  “pray for healing in the communities — that vengeance, bitterness and hatred can be replaced by hope and love.”

  • Feedback
    ]who was kinnapped The situation in the City of Jos here in Nigeria is really pathetic.The Bible School there operated by our Brethren lost a Student from the Republic of Cameroun during the January incedent.The late Student was beheaded by the angry Muslims as he and one other Student were returning from House-to-House Evangelism.This recent one did not affect our Brethren in the City of Jos although,efforts are still being made to get the original identity of those casualties.While this is happenning in Jos,the rate of kinnapping in the Eastern Nigeria is also another thing to worry about.
    Kingsley Odogwu
    Church of Christ,University of Ibadan
    Ibadan, Oyo State
    Nigeria
    March, 11 2010

Filed under: International

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