The following is a news update from theBaptist World Alliance.
The main international organization that represents Baptists globally is telling the United Nations it needs to raise the designated threat level for Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region.
Declaring that the area is rife with conflict and dislocation, the Baptist World Alliance asserts that “violence, murder, and kidnapping [have] directly impacted more than 14 million people with between three and five million being internally displaced.”
This has resulted “in rampant malnutrition, leaving thousands of persons on the verge of starvation.”
The threat level, the BWA says, must be raised to Level 3, the “most severe large scale humanitarian crisis.”
Extremists in Nigeria, mainly the violent Islamist group, Boko Haram, and Fulani militants, have led a series of attacks in Nigeria and neighboring countries such as Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Millions lost property, home and agricultural produce, and have had to flee to elsewhere in their own nations or into other countries.
The BWA notes that “people of faith and houses of worship have been intentionally targeted, including the damage or destruction of thousands of churches and numerous mosques.”
Samson Ayokunle, president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, has castigated the international community for ignoring terrorist violence and attacks in the West African country.
He accused the world community of devaluing Nigerian lives. “Does it not matter to the rest of the world if Boko Haram continues to kill hundreds of people every week? Are these people less human than those being killed in other places where they have gone to directly intervene? My people are being killed like animals and the whole world is just watching,” Ayokunle said after a particularly brutal series of attacks in Nigeria.
The BWA invites Baptists everywhere “to stand in solidarity with Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region, to pray for the development of transformative peace throughout the country and region, and to actively work to build a context of justice, human rights, rule of law, and religious freedom for all people.”