News

    Nigerian Churches Ramp Up Security Against Attack Risk

    Anne Look

    Throughout northern Nigeria, Christian churches are ramping up security as a militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, targets places of worship. At a church in the northern city of Kaduna, Christians are refusing to let the near-constant threat of attack keep them from Sunday services.



    Near-daily violence in northern Nigeria is increasingly targeting churches. Bombings and other attacks have killed dozens of Christians in recent months.

    Armed policeman keep watch outside this Assemblies of God parish in the Kakuri area of Kaduna, as church members pray inside.

    Trust in God, says head minister, Reverend Emmanuel Daudu, does not mean letting down your guard. "We don't fear but we are security-conscious because we don't have to be relaxing and our enemies to take us unawares. We have to be alert always because we don't know their plans against us or against the church," he said.

    All vehicles are checked for weapons and explosives before they enter the compound. Three policemen and a dozen volunteer security guards, led by Aminu Timothy Babah, patrol the grounds.

    "We are feeling that let's try and do what we are able to do, to do the best we can, to make sure that the tension that is rising in the minds of people at least is being cooled down or being reduced," he said.

    A car bomb exploded on a city street in Kaduna on Easter Sunday, killing 40 people and wounding several more. Many suspect the intended target was a nearby church compound.

    The militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, has repeatedly pledged to "purify" northern Nigeria of Christians.

    The sect has launched several deadly attacks against churches, the most recent at a university in Kano that killed 15 people.  Witnesses said gunmen threw explosives and then fired at those trying to flee.

    Here in Kaduna, Christians like Amako Laraba say nothing can keep them from going to church.

    "When you send your children to school, you are little bit afraid what might happen in the town but in the church we are safe. The Bible teach me that we should have faith in God. This is our town. This is our home. This is where we should worship so we feel very free," he said.

    The two-hour service is a cathartic experience. Joyous bursts of singing break up bouts of fiery preaching and concentrated prayer.  

    There are fears that attacks against Christians in this already volatile region could aggravate tensions, and even spark reprisal attacks on Muslims.

    Church members, however, say they continue to pray for redemption and peace.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Peter Barclay
    May 07, 2012 5:44 AM
    The impact and fear of different religions is astonishing. If people just took time to understand and appreciate differences, it would probably help. However, these attacks etc. are more likely the results of years, centuries, of struggles between these groups and about control.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora