|(Photo courtesy Morning Star News)|
According to a report from AllAfrica, troops arrived in Lafia on Sunday to reinforce the soldiers already there trying to quell the ongoing crisis between the Eggon and Alago tribes. Their report also notes that four towns and villages have been hit by deadly violence in the last few days.
While not directly linked to the riots, the next part of this story goes to show the anarchy in the region.
Reports from the Voice of the Martyrs Canada have noted tensions on the rise for weeks. Last month, a church in Lafia was attacked by a mob of Muslim militants. The mob generated alarmingly fast over a 20 naira--12 cent (USD)--fee to use a water well.
On August 17, while the St. James Anglican Cathedral choir was rehearsing, Rev. Isaac Onwusongaonye was in a Bible study meeting with the elders when he got notice about a confrontation that took place at the church's water borehole.
Reportedly, a Muslim woman in the community got angry, which incited neighboring militants to attack the church after arguing with the Christian young man who runs the well.
Despite the church's attempts to defuse the row by waiving the fee, the woman's son and associates responded with violence. Using knives, clubs, motorcycle chains, iron poles, and wooden rods, the angry mob of 30 attacked the church's security guards, injuring them severely enough to require hospitalization.
In addition, three pastors, four elders, and an indeterminate number of choir members sustained injuries.
Church property was also destroyed. Thankfully, the arrival of police averted plans to burn down the church building. While the ringleader's mother was initially arrested, she was later discharged in exchange for her son. The case is still under investigation.
Thank the Lord for the courage of the security guards who risked their lives while trying to protect the church. Ask God to minister to the traumatized victims, granting them needed comfort and healing. May the Lord encourage and reward the church's leaders and congregation members, bringing justice in this situation and blessing their outreach in the community.