Monday, October 8, 2012

Nigerian Believers Pray for 'Change of Heart' by Boko Haram Islamist Group

By Michael Ireland
Special Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

MUBI, NIGERIA (ANS) -- Multiple sources are confirming that an incident in which about 25 to 30 Christian college students massacred at a university in northeastern Nigeria late Monday night (Oct.1), has caused Christians to pray for a "change of heart" among the extremist Islamist group Boko Haram to put a stop to the continued violence.

A report by Katherine Weber of the The Christian Post, says that while there is speculation as to the motive of the massacre, sources close to the human rights watchdog Open Doors USA confirm that the massacre was performed by Boko Haram.

The Christian Post says that Emily Fuentes, the communications and public relations coordinator for Open Doors, who recently visited Nigeria, spoke to Christian leaders about Boko Haram, and told The Christian Post that believers around the world can agree that prayer is the "only thing that will change the people of Boko Haram."

"There are people who are turning to Christ who used to be in the Boko Haram, and God is changing their hearts," Fuentes told the online Christian news outlet.

"A lot of Christians believe that God will change these peoples' hearts," she added.

The Christian Post says in its online report the killings reportedly occurred in the late night hours on Oct. 1, when masked gunmen went door-to-door in the off-campus housing section of Federal Polytechnic C ollege in Mubi, a city in the remote Adamawa State in northeastern Nigeria.

The news outlet says that Open Doors USA sources confirmed that the gunmen separated the Christian students from the Muslim students, addressed each victim by name, questioned them, and then proceeded to shoot them or slit their throat.

"Open Doors is calling on Christians in the West to bear this horrific burden with our brothers and sisters in Mubi and Adamawa state," Open Doors USA spokesman Jerry Dykstra said in a press release emailed to The Christian Post.

"Nigeria is becoming a killing field," he added.

Fuentes told the news outlet that according to a local Nigerian police chief, Monday night's killing were performed by Boko Haram as an act of reprisal after 156 Boko Haram members were arrested in Mubi in late September.

Fuentes told the news outlet during the phone interview that the goal of the terror group, which has reportedly overtaken 13 of Nigeria's northern states, is to make the country a completely Islamic nati on and rid it of all western influence.

"In these [Nigerian] states to be a Christian is of grave danger," Fuentes said, adding that killing Christians is "Boko Haram's way of wiping out western influence."

Fuentes confirmed that in Mubi, where Monday night's massacre took place, there has been some form of violent attack on Christians nearly every day since Nov. 2011.

Fuentes shared the testimonials involving a change of heart by two Boko Haram members.

In one testimonial, a former Boko Haram member found the Gospel of Jesus Christ and converted. He now serves as a witness to other Boko Haram members, and although he receives threats to his life daily, he has managed to stay alive, the news outlet reported.

Other Boko Haram members, according to Fuentes, have not converted to Christianity but have seen the "goodness of the Christian religion" and now warn Christians before there is an attack.

In light of Monday's attack, the news outlet says Open Doors USA requested that all Christians pray for the families of the deceased students, who have been "thrown into mourning" and are reportedly in "indescribably pain right now."

"Please pray for the parents, families and friends of the innocent victim of this slaughter. Pray that they will receive the comfort only our Lord can give. Pray that justice will prevail. Pray that Christians will not retaliate," Open Doors said.

The news outlet added that Boko Haram has yet to openly claim responsibility for Monday night's massacre.

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