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Nigerian Christians call for urgent prayer after student’s murder

Christians in the northern Sokoto state of Nigeria are requesting urgent prayer after rioters upset over the arrest of two Muslims in connection with the barbaric killing of a Christian college student attacked church buildings and looted and damaged Christian-owned shops on Saturday.

Following the arrest of two suspects for the stoning to death of Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu (pictured, Facebook), a student at Shehu Shagari College in Sokoto, the state capital, rioters started bonfires and damaged churches including an Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) building in Sokoto, area residents said.

Deborah, who was a member of the ECWA church in her native Niger state, was beaten and then stoned to death on Thursday (May 12) after being falsely accused of blaspheming Islam’s prophet Mohammed because she had refused to date a Muslim, according to sources. Her body was then set on fire.
 
Local Muslims demanding the release of the two suspects assembled in strategic areas of the city and then marched to the palace of the sultan of Sokoto, leader of Nigeria’s Muslims, demanding the release of the two suspects, residents said.
 
Sokoto resident Precious Arigu requested prayer.

‘So far, two churches [were damaged] and dozens of shops belonging to Christians have been looted and then destroyed,’ Arigu said. ‘Please be in prayers for those of us who are Christians living in Sokoto.’

A 24-hour curfew was declared in the city on Saturday.

Local media reported that Deborah had said in a class WhatsApp chat group that she had passed exams thanks to Christ, and when she was pressured to retract the statement and apologise, she declined.
 

Newfound freedom

Thank God that a Christian from Kyrgystan, who was imprisoned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and tortured in a Xinjiang concentration camp, has found freedom in the US.

With his wife and 11-year-old son beside him, Ovalbek Turdakun (pictured) praised God for his family’s newfound freedom as they stepped foot in their new homeland.

An ethnic Kyrgyz, Ovalbek was detained in 2018 by CCP officials who claimed he stayed too long in neighboring Kyrgyzstan. He endured interrogations where guards cut off his circulation with restraints, locked him in a torture chair for hours, and shocked him with electric prods when he tried to move or sleep.

Ovalbek was released later in 2018 and went with his family to Kyrgyzstan in 2019. Some special advocates for human rights and religious freedom then helped the family stay safe in different locations until they could travel to the US last month.

Ovalbek is the first Christian detained in one of these horrific Xinjiang concentration camps to publicly share his story. Our partner China Aid said his testimony is a powerful example of how God is ‘mighty to save’ while giving a voice to so many who are still silenced in China’s concentration camps.

(Sources: Morning Star News, China Aid)

Pray

  • That all those grieving the loss of Deborah would find comfort and strength in the Lord; and that those responsible for her death would not escape justice.
  • That God would protect Christians in Sokoto and that the brutality of Deborah’s death would in fact cause many to turn away from violence and seek peace.

Praise

  • Thank God for the safe arrival in the US of Ovalbek Turdakun.