Within seconds, people were sprinting to the forest, trying to evade the bullets flashing by. After the firefight died down, the villagers returned to their fields and houses to see who and what had survived the attack.
Fleeing extremist violence is a way of life for these Nigerian Christians.
The most recent attack happened on May 4 as Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) fighters attacked Kautikari. The terrorists entered the village in the early evening and shot indiscriminately at men, women and children. Eight people were killed.
Kautikari is a primarily Christian community that has endured multiple attacks from Boko Haram and ISWAP in recent months. In January, another ISWAP attack left three villagers dead and saw multiple people kidnapped. Two churches were burned, an all-too-common sight in northern Nigeria.
Believers in Nigerian communities like Kaurikari live in constant danger from Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists. Though Christians are not the only targets of terrorist attacks, they are often targeted for their faith in these incidents. Global Protection Cluster April report shows that 340 Nigerian civilians were killed across 679 insurgent-related incidents from January to March 2022. In the adjacent Plateau state, 154 people were killed on an April 10 attack by Fulani militants. On April 19, an explosion killed another 19, which ISWAP said was “a gathering of infidel Christians.”
How you can pray
Continue to pray for brothers and sisters who remain in northern Nigeria and are constantly under attack. May they experience the peace we find in Christ and that surpasses all understanding.
Pray for church leaders to receive godly wisdom on how to counsel the bereaved and to faithfully shepherd the Church through this time. Pray the Nigerian church will as a result become a beacon of hope and that many people will give their lives to Christ.
Pray for the hearts and minds of these attackers who destroy, kill and abduct. May they see the error of their ways and start to question the path they are on. Pray God will take their hearts of stone and give them a heart of flesh.