When we read The Holy Gospel and Paul’s letters we get fruitful examples of leadership, Jesus’ countless miracles of compassion and serving basic needs, and James even writes about not waiting for the poor to arrive at your door, but to seek them out.
We have many practical examples of how to love our neighbor in leadership or serving basic needs or sharing the Gospel.
But, what do we do when overwhelming disaster strikes?
Ministry to Ministry shares Amnesty International’s tragic and gruesome account of atrocities in Nigeria.
Amnesty International provide fresh evidence of extrajudicial executions and other serious human rights violations being carried out in north-eastern Nigeria as the fight by the military against Boko Haram and other armed groups intensifies.
The footage, obtained from numerous sources during a recent trip to Borno state, reveals graphic evidence of multiple war crimes being carried out in Nigeria.
It includes horrific images of detainees having their throats slit one by one and dumped in mass graves by men who appear to be members of the Nigerian military and the “Civilian Joint Task Force” (CJTF), state-sponsored militias. It also shows the aftermath of a Boko Haram raid on a village that resulted in almost 100 deaths and destruction on a massive scale.
“This shocking new evidence is further proof of the appalling disregard for humanity in north-eastern Nigeria, where war crimes are being committed with abandon by all sides in the conflict. What does it say about a country when members of its military carry out such unspeakable acts and then deliberately capture the images on film?” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
“These are not the images we expect from a country which sees itself as having a leadership role in Africa. The ghastly images are made worse by the numerous testimonies we have gathered which suggest that extrajudicial executions are, in fact, regularly carried out by the Nigerian military and CJTF.”
More than 4,000 people have been killed by all sides in the conflict during armed attacks this year alone. Civilians who are not directly participating in hostilities make up the majority of this death toll.
In recent months, the conflict has intensified in north-eastern Nigeria, spreading to smaller towns and villages which are now increasingly on the front line. In July 2014, Damboa in Borno state became the first town to fall officially under the control of Boko Haram since President Goodluck Jonathan declared the State of Emergency in May 2013.
The heavy-handed behaviour of the military also caused shock waves in Kaduna state in July. A fatal crackdown was carried out in response to a peaceful protest by the Shi’ite Zakzaky sect in Zaria. Thirty-three people were killed, including two children; 12 were killed while held in detention.
Amnesty International is calling on the Nigerian authorities to ensure that the military stops committing human rights violations. All reports of extrajudicial executions and other war crimes and serious violations must be investigated promptly, thoroughly, independently and impartially, with those responsible – up the entire chain of command – brought to justice.
“Members of Boko Haram and other armed groups are responsible for a huge number of heinous crimes – like the abduction of the schoolgirls in Chibok more than three months ago – but the military are supposed to defend people, not to carry out further abuses themselves,” said Shetty.
“A state of emergency must not give way to a state of lawlessness. Sadly, the same communities are now being terrorized in turn by Boko Haram and the military alike.”
Grisly Extrajudicial Executions
The footage obtained by Amnesty International includes a gruesome incident that took place near Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, on March 14, 2014. It shows what appear to be members of the Nigerian military and CJTF using a blade to slit the throats of a series of detainees, before dumping them into an open mass grave.
The video shows 16 young men and boys seated in a line. One by one, they are called forward and told to lie down in front of the pit. Five of them are killed in this way; the fate of the remaining detainees is not shown on video, but eyewitness accounts confirmed that nine of them had their throats cut while the others were shot to death.
As Followers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ What Action Can We Take?
In Romans 12 we are told, ‘If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I repay, says the Lord.”’ We are told to overcome evil with good. When bad or even horror is occurring, there are countless examples of how being kind to our enemies can lead to good. ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ (Rom 12:20). In other words, by doing good to our enemies, they may repent and turn to the Gospel.
And in Chapter 13, we are told to be subject to governing authorities.
If you are starting to get angry, it’s understandable.
God does leave room for disobedience to authorities when disobedience to government would mean disobeying God (Ex. 1:17, 21; 1 Kings 18:4-16, Est. 4:16, etc.).
So, are we to fight against evil? We are, in some cases. Are we to ignore evil? We are not to ignore evil; but we should not be surprised by evil.
Do you remember what Esther did to saves the Jews against the hand of Haman?
Haman plotted against Mordecai and planned the destruction of all Jews. Esther told her people, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.
After a night of not being able to sleep, King Ahasuerus read the book of memorable deeds and found out that Mordecai had protected the king. Eventually, Esther revealed to the king Haman’s plot to build gallows to hang Mordecai. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai.
So, for one, we can pray. The Rev. Canon Dr. White, the vicar of St. George’s Church, just outside the Green Zone, in Baghdad, Iraq – the only remaining Anglican Church in the country, has also encountered great persecution against Christians first hand.
His prayer is for protection, perseverance, and provision. He asks for prayers for his enemies as well.
Ministry to Ministries certainly can help get funds or provisions to those in need. If you donate and note a specific cause, we’ll help. Amnesty International’s website also takes donations. We’ll also lift up those who are persecuted in prayer.
We welcome your thoughts or prayers and even a call to fasting.
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