Sixteen Christians were killed in Southern Nigeria while they were leaving a New Year’s Eve Church service. The reason for the killing is yet unknown as are the gunmen. The police believe that these murders are linked to a larger war taking place between gangs in the southern part of the country. These types of attacks have become more common in Southern Nigeria, which is mostly Christian. As the details continue to unfold, we pray for the safety of other Christians and that the culprits will be found.
2018-01-02 Nigeria (World Watch Monitor) At least 16 people were killed as gunmen opened fire at churchgoers returning from a midnight service on New Year’s Eve in Omuku, a town in Nigeria’s southern Rivers state.
According to the BBC, the New Year’s Eve fireworks initially made it difficult for people to realize that shots were being fired and people were being killed.
Rivers state is Nigeria’s main oil-producing region and, according to local reports, the incident was linked to growing tensions between rival gangs, who demand a greater share of oil revenues.
Omuku, which is around 85km from the state capital, Port Harcourt, has a history of violent crime but had enjoyed a period of relative peace after the government introduced an amnesty for former gang members – but this amnesty has “lapsed” in the past year, according to the BBC, resulting in more violence.