The US State Department in November sent an entourage to Nigeria to investigate the ongoing slaughter of Christians there. International Christian Concern estimates that In October, there were 260 Christians killed at the hands of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, bringing the total to over 2,300 killed so far this year, and 16,000 Christians killed in the past three years.
This is the same issue we are dealing with in our Ghana ministry. In September 2011, I interviewed eyewitnesses in the Northern Region of Ghana to how the Fulani sized up a village, attacked it, killing the elders who resisted, raping the women, and stealing what they could. It was in this way that they brought villages under Islamic control.
Many did not believe my reports. We had to travel under armed guard to even visit the area. Our missions partner in Ghana, Pastor William Agbeti, says the reports sparked awareness. He says the villagers decided to fight back, and much to the Fulani’s surprise, the tables turned. He wrote in November 2011: “Many were those who did not believe you when you started reporting on the atrocities that Fulani herdsmen were meting out to Ghanaians. Your reports were wake up calls. Today, the truth has finally come out. Everybody in Ghana now knows the Fulani herdsmen have been and are responsible for most armed robbery cases, murders, rapes and destruction of farms and villages; as several of them have been arrested and caught in the act of committing various crimes.”
This, however, did not stop the ongoing Christian persecution by Islamists in neighboring Nigeria or in Ghana. Islam continues to roll across the rural areas, invading villages, establishing an organized shadow government of control and crime. In addition to the steady harassment, threats and bullying, the Muslims are now just stealing land and stripping it for its soil to sell for profit. Agbeti reports:“I went to take a look at the devastation the Muslims caused when they bulldozed the top soil away at the village. I took pictures, and the spectacle wasn’t good. I also traveled through various villages bringing in building materials and saw massive destruction of land all over the place. These guys come with bulldozers and begin digging sand away from buildings and structures, destroying farms and all.”
William noted that these Muslims are armed with machetes and pistols, and “have formed themselves into various groups–illegal sand winners, notorious land guards, village raiders, forced marriage and child marriage contractors, harassing beasts, land jihadists, etc.–spread across the length and breadth of villages.” This is why our church project in the outpost rural bush area of Busuafise is so important. Food, clothing, clean water—are all part of Christ’s lovingkindness in our ministry to these gallant people who are laboring amidst peril. At times it seems overwhelming, but we remember 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”