By Michael Ireland
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
(ANS) -- Members of a radical Islamic group, Boko Haram, have killed at least ten Christians in Maiduguri, Nigeria over the past two months in what one Christian leader is calling a "silent killing" of Christians.
In an interview with International Christian Concern (ICC - www.persecution.org ) , an anonymous local church leader explained, "Boko Haram is seeking to eliminate Christianity because they want Islamic (Sharia) law. They don't want to see anything Christian in the northern states [of Nigeria]. That is why churches are being persecuted and Muslims who don't follow the [hardline teachings of] Boko Haram are also persecuted."
ICC says Boko Haram is close to achieving its goal of eliminating Christianity from Maiduguri.
In its latest report on the situation, ICC said: "Most of the Christians have fled the city in fear of further attacks by the Islamists. Of the churches that remain, some have felt compelled to suspend their services to protect their congregations."
ICC explained that the Nigerian government, which has also been attacked by Boko Haram, deployed security forces to quell the violence, but came under sharp criticism from human rights groups for excessive use of force and the indiscriminate killing of civilians. The government of Nigeria has now established a committee to investigate the members of Boko Haram and look into the reasons for the violence.
The church leader told ICC that the few Christians who remain in the city are praying and fasting for God's intervention.
When asked what Christians could do to help, the church leader said, "They can pray for their fellow Christian brothers and sisters in Maiduguri. [We also] ask for assistance in the rebuilding of churches that have been burned down since 2006. The government has not compensated for the loss of Christians, but it has compensated for losses that Muslims suffered [at the hands of radical Islamists]."
ICC's Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, said, "We welcome the deployment of the Nigerian security forces to protect innocent civilians from the attacks by Boko Haram. We also welcome the establishment of the committee to investigate Boko Haram. We call upon the committee to look into the plight of the victims and ensure that the perpetrators of the violence are brought to justice."
|** Michael Ireland is Senior Correspondent for ANS. He is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB UK, a British Christian radio station. While in the UK, Michael traveled to Canada and the United States, Albania,Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany,and Czechoslovakia. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China,and Russia. Michael's volunteer involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' (MIMM) -- of A.C.T. International of P.O.Box 1649, Brentwood, TN 37024-1649, at: Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) International where you can donate online to support his stated mission of 'Truth Through Christian Journalism.' Michael is a member in good standing of the National Writers Union, Society of Professional Journalists, Religion Ne wswriters Association, Evangelical Press Association and International Press Association. If you have a news or feature story idea for Michael, please contact him at: ANS Senior Reporter|