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Nigeria: Boko Haram capture further towns amid 'Caliphate' claim

27 August 2014

Boko Haram has seized control of the town of Ashigashya in Borno State on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon, after fighters moved into the town overnight on 25 August.

There are reports that Boko Haram killed three people in front of a church in the town, but Open Doors contacts have been unable to confirm this. Approximately 500 soldiers have reportedly fled across the border into Cameroon after fierce fighting in the area, but Nigeria said they were conducting a 'tactical manoeuvre'.

'Caliphate' claim

This follows Boko Haram's claim that they have set up an Islamic caliphate in north-eastern Nigeria.

The insurgents captured Gwoza, a town of about 265,000 residents in Borno State earlier this month. In a 52 minute long video released to congratulate his fighters, Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, claimed to have set up an Islamic caliphate in the towns and villages they have captured.

"Allah commands us to rule Gwoza by Islamic law," he said. "In fact, he commands us to rule the rest of the world, not only Nigeria, and now we have started."

In the video - which features scenes of fighting and atrocities carried out by Boko Haram insurgents. Skekau also taunted France, Israel and the United States. "You are all pagans and we will kill you, even if you do not attack us we will kill you ... Allah commands us to kill without pity."

'Only God can come to our aid'

Boko Haram also attacked the border town of Madagali and some villages in Adamawa state, causing widespread displacement of the mostly Christian population. Most have made their way to Mubi, about 80 kilometres away.

A local church leader spoke to Open Doors workers about their perilous situation. Boko Haram has destroyed more than 178 churches around Gwoza and more than 40,000 people, mostly Christians, have been displaced to Mubi, Uba and other areas.

"Only God can come to our aid in this situation," he said. "We are in a very difficult situation."

Open Doors continues to provide support for the victims of persecution in Nigeria. We are also supporting a prayer campaign called for by the bishops in Nigeria.

Please pray:

  • For God's grace to the many thousands of Christians who have been displaced by violence in Borno State
  • For the Lord's provision to the Church in Mubi as it now seeks to host the displaced
  • For the government of Nigeria as they continue the battle against Boko Haram

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Find out more about persecution in Nigeria.