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Property damaged at St. James Anglican Cathedral
Photo: Morning Star News

Several attendants of a church in Lafia, Nasarawa, were severely injured by a mob of Muslim militants in an attack that was prompted by an altercation over a miniscule amount of money. During the early evening of August 17th, while the choir was rehearsing, Rev. Isaac Onwusongaonye held a Bible study meeting with the elders of St. James Anglican Cathedral. At the time of the meeting, he was informed about a confrontation that took place at the church's water borehole. The confrontation led to a violent assault against the church building and those in it. Reportedly, a Muslim woman in the community had incited neighbouring militants to attack the church after engaging in a minor dispute with a young Christian man who runs the borehole...over the payment of 20 naira, which is equivalent to about one cent (CAD) in change.

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, causing most of them to be hospitalized. 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. (For more information on persecution in this country, please check the Nigeria Country Report.)

Thank the Lord for the courage of the security guards who risked their lives while trying to protect the church. Pray that these guards and others who were wounded during the attack will not succumb to fear, but rather would set their eyes on our Almighty God as their Protector and Deliverer. Ask Him 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.