Original text: Mission 21 Website
Boko Haram rather than Covid-19 was the key topic at the press conference of Mission 21’s partner church EYN (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria/Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The violence and destruction of the terrorist militia causes indescribable suffering amongst the population. EYN calls on increased support from the Nigerian government, the UN, and the African Union (AU).
Of all faith communities in Nigeria, the EYN is the most affected by the attacks and violence committed by Boko Haram. In total the EYN has about 1.5 million members. Over 700,000 of them had to flee, 8,370 parishioners and eight pastors were killed. Women and girls were abducted during attacks, for example in Borno State on 17th June 2020 Martha (22 years old), Mary (13 years old), Saratu (22), Eli (21), and Saratu (20) were kidnapped. 217 of the 276 girls and women abducted from Chibok were members of the EYN. Some of them are still in the hands of the kidnappers. 300 of the 586 parishes of the EYN were burned down or destroyed.
Call for inter-religious dialogue and peace
It is painful to read EYN’s long list of names of those killed or abducted by Boko Haram. The EYN calls on the government to do more to ensure the safety of the population and to allow the return of displaced people to their homes. In addition, Christian Religious Studies should be included in religious education in public schools, which is not yet the case in some northern regions of the country. Inter-religious peace work is particularly important since the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram is dividing the country and creates division between Muslims and Christians.
The EYN is one of the three large Historic Peace Churches, alongside the Mennonites and the Society of Friends (Quakers). Peace-building and inter-religious work are therefore part of the core work of the EYN. Mission 21 supports this work in its on-site projects.
2023 will be a special year for the EYN: it will be 100 years since the Brethren Christian Missionaries from the USA founded the church. It is hoped that by then the thousands of displaced church members will be able to return to their homes.