CAMEROON – SEVEN KILLED AND 21 YOUNG PEOPLE KIDNAPPED AS BOKO HARAM RAMPAGE CONTINUES
“Helpless before the terrorists, the people had only their eyes to cry.” These were the moving words used by a Barnabas contact to describe the despair of defenceless Christians who lost what little they possessed when Boko Haram extremists looted their homes in yet another wave of murderous attacks in Far North Cameroon in December.
Seven people were killed and 21 children and young adults were kidnapped in a series of attacks, which came just a month after a spate of similar atrocities targeted mainly-Christian villages.
The attacks in Mayo Sava district began on 1 December when gunmen opened fire on mourners at a funeral in Kotserehé, forcing them to flee. An eyewitness said, “It was a total rout … women have fled without being able to take their children with them.” The attack left four Christians dead and three wounded. The witness added, “A place of mourning has turned into a theatre of war that has ended in carnage.”
The following night, three people were murdered when armed militants swarmed Zangola village, looting homes as the villagers fled for their lives. The army arrived but their attempt to pursue the marauders was unsuccessful.
In a third attack, the village of Mbreche was targeted at around 2 a.m. on 5 December. Militants searched from house to house and kidnapped 21 young people – nine girls and twelve boys, aged between 12 and 21. Four of the young people, including a girl aged 13, managed to escape.
It is thought that those abducted will be forced to become Boko Haram “soldiers” and fight on behalf of the extremists. Only weeks earlier, on 19 November, a 12-year-old Christian boy was hacked to death for resisting militants’ attempt to abduct him as a “child soldier” in Tourou district.
In an earlier wave of brutal violence, retired pioneering pastor David Mokoni and a hearing-impaired Christian boy were killed on 6 November in their church in Moskota. It was the second attack on the town in a week. In the previous raid, the jihadists killed one man and stole 140 cattle.
Five people, including a boy aged 15, were hacked to death when militants stormed the village of Kotserehé on 31 October.
A Barnabas contact said the attacks have caused many to flee rural areas for larger towns and cities, where they are now living in “extreme misery”. He asked for prayer, adding, “This is beyond persecution. It is a dramatic situation, plunging thousands of families into a deplorable humanitarian crisis.”
Lift up our brothers and sisters in Cameroon as they stand defenceless against relentless attacks from extremists. Ask that the Name of the LORD will be their strong tower, keeping them safe from harm (Proverbs 18:10). Pray for healing from the LORD (Jeremiah 30:17) for villagers who bear the physical and mental scars, and ask that the bereaved will have the tears wiped from their eyes (Revelation 21:4).