Tuesday, April 12, 2016

RLPB 352. Sudan & Nigeria: Invisible Jihads

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 352 | Wed 13 Apr 2016

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SUDAN & NIGERIA: INVISIBLE JIHADS
plus draconian preaching law looms for Kaduna
By Elizabeth Kendal

SUDAN: GOVERNMENT WAGES JIHAD AROUND NUBA MOUNTAINS

Updating RLPB 344 (14 Feb) and RLPB 345 (23 Feb) -- Government forces are pressing in on the 'rebel' (Nuba) capital of Kauda from positions in the east and south. Aerial bombardment has also reached the outskirts of Kauda. Though massively outnumbered and out-gunned, the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) is holding its ground. The Sudan army, along with its allied Islamic paramilitaries, has vowed to continue military operations in South Kordofan until the 'rebellion' is 'crushed'. Meanwhile, the 'international community' is pressing the Nuba to accept the Government of Sudan (GoS)-approved Framework Agreement and agree to a ceasefire. It is worth remembering that this 'rebellion' only exists because the Arab Islamist GoS reneged on its promise -- sealed in the January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement -- to conduct popular consultations in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Abyei, so that the concerns of the non-Arab, mostly non-Muslim peoples might be addressed. Opting instead to ethnically cleanse and occupy the resource-rich 'new south', in 2011 the GoS launched a genocidal jihad. The 'international community' remains silent in the hope that Khartoum will provide intelligence for the 'war on terror', something Khartoum, a major sponsor of international terror, will never do. Meanwhile, the mostly Christian Nuba struggle to fend off genocidal jihad.

NIGERIA: TOWN-BY-TOWN JIHAD BY PROXY

Nigeria's new president, Muhammadu Buhari, might be making some ground in the fight against Boko Haram, but the perpetual southward advance of the Muslim Fulani receives little attention. This advance involves the ethnic cleansing of Christians across the volatile Middle Belt and now increasingly in the South. Desertification and modernisation have caused the cattle-herding nomadic Muslim Fulani to migrate south into Christian regions. Clashes erupt when Fulani herdsmen invade private farms so their cattle can feed on the crops, as well as when Muslim Fulani settlers subsequently compete with Christian indigenes for land, water, jobs and political power.
Agatu, Benue State, 12 March 2016
Senator David Mark suspects
 'orchestrated genocide'.
Boko Haram and Islamists in the Nigerian military support the Fulani Muslim, providing them with high-powered weapons and back-up to facilitate a 'predatory migration' and Islamic jihad by proxy. Furthermore, many Christian leaders are of the opinion that Muslim governors are 'beating the drum' to which the Muslim Fulani 'are dancing'. The town-by-town ethnic cleansing of Christians and eventual occupation and rule by Muslims attracts scant attention from mainstream media -- obsessed as they are with politically-correct messages -- as does the fact that some 1.3 million Nigerian Christians are this day internally displaced.

From 22 to 29 February Fulani herdsmen massacred an estimated 300 mostly Christian farmers in the Agatu Local Government Area of the mostly Christian state of Benue, in Nigeria's volatile Middle Belt. The destruction was enormous, with whole villages razed and some seven thousand Christians displaced. Whilst churches were burned, mosques were spared. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported on 7 April that more than ten villages remained under siege and that continuing violence had caused the death toll to rise to some 500.
click on map to enlarge
Recent Fulani attacks in Ondo State in Nigeria's deep south-west has led Ondo Governor Olusegun Mimiko to warn that this 'monster' has become a threat to national security. In the southern state of Edo, Governor Adams Oshiomhole warned on 11 April that the situation risks escalating 'beyond what we can manage quietly'. The government needs to act.

[For more details on the crisis facing the Church in Nigeria, see report by Open Doors: 'Crushed But Not Defeated' (Feb 2016).]

KADUNA: DRACONIAN LAW BEFORE PARLIAMENT

On the pretext of preserving social cohesion, Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has proposed a truly draconian religious preaching bill, which is currently before the Kaduna State House of Assembly for consideration. Gov. El-Rufai also inflamed Christian leaders by publicly declaring that Kaduna state was 70 percent Muslim, when in reality it is 55 percent Christian. The religious preaching bill proposes that offences including preaching 'without a valid licence', or 'disturbing public peace,' or the use of 'any derogatory term in describing any religion' ... 'shall be liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine of two hundred thousand naira or both.' [The full text of the bill can be found here (beneath the lead article).]  Christian leaders fear that, if this preaching law is enacted in Kaduna, it will spread, furthering Nigeria's Islamisation. 

Update to RLPB 350 (30 March 2016): On 21 March, three leading figures from the United Church of Christ in Nigeria were abducted on the southern outskirts of Kaduna. The body of Rev Iliya Anto has been recovered, and Rev Dr Emmanuel Dziggau and Rev Yakubu Dzarma were released on the night of 30 March. No further details are available.


PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL

* intervene for his besieged and imperilled people, giving wisdom to all leaders and 'strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate' (from Isaiah 28:5-6 ESV).

'And David came to Baal-perazim, and David defeated [the Philistines] there. And he said, "The LORD has broken through my enemies before me like a breaking flood." Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim [meaning: the Lord of the breakthrough]' (from 2 Samuel 5:17-25 ESV).

* provide for his persecuted, displaced, fearful and grieving people: may all their needs be met -- spiritual and pastoral, emotional and psychological, and physical (i.e. medical care, clean water and food security, shelter and education). May God fire up the Church, his human instruments, to come to their aid.

SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN WHOLE ARTICLE
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INVISIBLE JIHADS IN SUDAN & NIGERIA

The Government of Sudan (GoS) has been waging a genocidal jihad against the predominantly Christian Nuba of South Kordofan since June 2011. GoS forces are presently pressing in on the 'rebel' (Nuba) capital of Kauda, with both ground troops and aerial bombardment. Despite being massively outnumbered, the rebel SPLA-N army is holding its ground, preventing genocide. Meanwhile in Nigeria, Boko Haram and Islamists in the military and government are supporting the southward migration of the nomadic cattle-herding Muslim Fulani, facilitating a 'predatory migration' which is effectively an Islamic jihad. Fulani expansion involves the ethnic cleansing and then occupation of Christian villages, compounding the Islamisation of Nigeria and the suffering of the Church. Meanwhile, a draconian religious preaching law looms over Kaduna. Please pray for the Church in South Kordofan and Nigeria.

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PLEASE NOTE: Elizabeth Kendal will be speaking at two conferences in Canberra between 15 & 19 April. Consequently, next week's RLPB (353) will be issued a day later than usual.

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Elizabeth Kendal is the author of Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat.
 
Her new book, After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East, is presently being published by Wipf and Stock (Eugene, OR, USA) and will be available shortly.