At least 12 Christians were killed in Christmas Eve church attacks in northern Nigeria, and 15 others were murdered in their sleep on Dec. 28. Boko Haram militants are suspected in both cases. On Christmas Eve, gunmen opened fire during a time of prayer at the Church of Christ in Nations in Jiri village, Yobe province, killing five worshipers and the pastor. The attackers also set the church on fire, and several other Christians were seriously injured. On the same night, a deacon and five other Christians were killed at the First Baptist Church in Maiduguri, Borno state. Four days later, attackers invaded the homes of Christians in Musari, outside Maiduguri, and slit the throats of 15 Christians during the early morning hours. A number of Christians had moved to the Musari area to flee violence in Maiduguri. This is the third consecutive year that Christians in the north have been violently attacked during the Christmas season. Churches in northern Nigeria were nearly empty on Christmas day.
Philippines—VOM Vehicle Struck by Bomb Source: VOM Sources
A VOM worker narrowly escaped injury on Dec. 26 when a roadside bomb exploded directly in front of his vehicle. The windshield and rear window were busted and the right side of the vehicle received damage, but the VOM worker and passengers were unharmed. A motorcycle taxi driver in front of the VOM truck was killed in the blast. The bombing is thought to be related to ongoing violence by Muslim separatists in the Philippines. “Praise God for his protection,” wrote the worker. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the island of Mindanao recently signed an agreement with the Philippine government in which the MILF was granted autonomy over more of the island. However, the agreement has not stopped the violence. Christians are specifically targeted by the MILF and other Muslim extremists that seek to rid the region of non-Muslims.
Indonesia—Mob Attacks Christmas Procession Source: Jakarta Globe
A long-beleaguered church in Indonesia faced harassment once again during their Christmas services. As members of the Filadelfia Batak Christian Protestant Church (FBCP) walked toward their church property during a Christmas Eve procession prior to the service, a mob pelted them with eggs and other items. The FBCP’s church property was confiscated and sealed by local authorities several months ago, but the Supreme Court ordered authorities to stop sealing off the property. Local officials have ignored the order. When the church again tried to meet on Christmas day, attackers hurled excrement and bags of urine at the congregation.
During the Christmas holiday, an evangelist in Pakistan was accused of blasphemy. Because of the seriousness of the charge, he was forced to flee the country for a short time. In the past, such charges have led to lengthy trials, imprisonments or both. Please pray for him and his family.