(BWA) – Recent violent outbreaks in Nigeria led the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) to pause during its General Council meeting in Ede, Netherlands, to offer prayer for the most populous country in Africa.
More than 800 persons were reportedly killed during the latest round of religious sectarian violence from July 26-29 in several states across the northeast of the West African nation. The violence was the result of a conflict between Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group, and Nigerian security forces.
It is the worst sectarian violence the country has experienced since November 2008 when hundreds of persons were killed in central Nigeria after Christians and Muslims clashed over the result of a local election.
More than 10,000 people have been killed in sectarian clashes in Nigeria since 1999, often in the so-called Middle Belt, where the predominantly Muslim north meets the Christian south.
Solomon Ishola, general secretary of the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC), requested prayer on the behalf of his country during the meeting of the General Council, which convened during the BWA Annual Gathering held July 27 to Aug. 1. Paul Msiza of South Africa, president of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship, offered prayer.
Nigeria, with a population of almost 150 million, has one of the largest Baptist constituencies in the world. The BWA has two member bodies in Nigeria – the NBC with approximately 2.5 million members in more than 9,300 churches, and the Mambilla Baptist Convention with almost 23,000 members in 255 churches.