NIGERIA — Given the order to renounce Christ or else, a group of mothers prepared to witness the deaths of their children by Boko Haram members in the same way they had seen their husbands die the week before.
According to a contact of Barnabas Fund, a smaller group of 76 originally part of approximately 500 Muslim-background Christians had been captured by Boko Haram. Four male leaders of the group were ordered to renounce Christ and when they didn’t do so were shot. The following week the women were ordered to renounce Christ as well or watch their children be executed.
During the night, according to the report, one of the children claimed to have a vision of Jesus telling them to not fear and stay strong. The next morning, after the women again refused to renounce Christ, soldiers prepared to shoot the children standing before a wall. However, the soldiers then began grabbing at their heads and screaming, “Snakes, snakes!”
Some ran while others fell dead. When a Christian captive picked up a gun and prepared to shoot soldiers one child said, “You don’t need to do that. Can you not see the men in white fighting for us?” The remaining 72 of the group have since been relocated to safer parts of the country.
Barnabus Fund is an aid agency for the persecuted Church.
Christian deaths mount in Nigeria
The story of the women and children escaping is an outlier, though, in Nigeria. In addition to attacks by Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen continue to target Christians in the country.
From February through mid-March, as many as 280 Christians have died from violence in Nigeria’s Middle Built, said reports from Christian Solidarity Wolrdwide (CSW), Morning Star News, and International Christian Concern (ICC).
According to CSW, 280 people died in attacks from February through March. ICC reported at least 205 killings resulting from 60 attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani militants. Since Feb. 10, stated Morning Star ,at least 140 Christians in state of Kaduna alone.
Meanwhile, on Feb. 26 a Nigerian court ruled that the country failed to protect Christians in a 2016 Fulani attack that claimed some 500 people. Although the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ordered the government to provide adequate security, it didn’t award the $13.87 million sought by plaintiffs.
According the the 2018 Global Terrorism Index, Nigeria ranked as the third “most terrorized country for the fourth year in a row.”