Their trademark attacks often occur under the cover of darkness. Avowed to eradicate all non-Islamic influence in the northern states of Nigeria that are ruled by Sharia law, Boko Haram terrorists have been striking villages, burning houses, churches, and schools and slaughtering fleeing Christians and moderate Muslims. An estimated 10,000 deaths have been linked to Boko Haram (a name that means “Western education is an abomination”) in the past 12 years.
During those years, the ongoing slaughter has been downplayed by much of the media as tribal warfare, but anyone who listens to what Boko Haram is saying knows that the genocide is nothing less than Islamic Jihad. Just weeks ago, the U.S. State Department finally labeled Boko Haram an Islamic terrorist group. That designation may have occurred, at least in part, because of testimony given last month before U.S. State Department officials by our partners in Nigeria while Heaven’s Family staff member David Warnock was with them to inspect our relief efforts in northern Nigeria.
David interviewed survivors in Nigeria’s Nasarawa State, believers whom Heaven’s Family is helping to rebuild their lives after they journeyed hundreds of miles in order to distance themselves from Boko Haram’s backyard. Previous to their exodus, they had been sleeping each night out in the bush—away from their village—a necessary precaution to preserve their lives due to the growing threat of nighttime attacks by Boko Haram. Eventually, however, the tension became unbearable. The last straw for Pastor Moses Ebuni’s* congregation occurred in October of last year when their church was bombed.
Not long after, Pastor Moses led 31 families out of Nigeria’s Yobe State, leaving behind their homes, belongings, livestock, crops and businesses. They set off for a southern “promised land”—an unoccupied and forested safe-haven—a grant from a sympathetic Christian chief—500 miles away in Nasarawa State.
Since their arrival, the believers have been living like pioneers, carving out new lives from the forest, and Heaven’s Family has come to their aid. As they’ve been constructing humble homes with handmade mud bricks, we’ve provided wood-framed rafters and corrugated tin for roofs. In addition, Heaven’s Family has provided funding for a well after learning that their children were becoming ill from the nearby creek that served as their water source. All of this aid has been made possible thanks to gifts to our Persecuted Christians Fund.