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Current Page: World | Monday, August 24, 2015
'Boko Haram Has Killed 8,000 Members of Our Church,' Says Nigerian Pastor of 176 Kidnapped Chibok Schoolgirls

'Boko Haram Has Killed 8,000 Members of Our Church,' Says Nigerian Pastor of 176 Kidnapped Chibok Schoolgirls

A girl holds a sign during a march to mark the one-year anniversary of the mass kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from a secondary school in Chibok by Boko Haram militants, in Abuja, April 14, 2015. Nigeria's President-elect Muhammadu Buhari vowed on Tuesday to make every effort to free the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram militants a year ago but admitted it was not clear whether they would ever be found. A march is expected to be held in Abuja on Tuesday to mark the anniversary. | (Photo: Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)
A Nigerian woman is comforted by a man as they take part in a protest, called by Malaga's Nigerian women Association, for the release of the abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok in Nigeria, at La Merced square in Malaga, southern Spain, May 13, 2014. The leader of the Nigerian Islamist rebel group Boko Haram has offered to release more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by his fighters last month in exchange for its members being held in detention, according to a video posted on YouTube on Monday. | (Photo: Reuters/Jon Nazca)
Nigerian pilgrims pray inside the Grotto, where Christians believe Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, during Christmas celebrations at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 24, 2014. | (Photo: Reuters/Ammar Awad)
Returnees queue during the evacuation of Nigerians displaced by Boko Haram militants, at a camp for displaced people in Geidam, Yobe state, Nigeria, May 6, 2015. Niger has evacuated Nigerians living around Lake Chad, military and aid officials told Reuters on Tuesday, as the armies of four west African nations battle to quash the Islamist militants. | (Photo: Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)
Students join a protest demanding the release of the abducted secondary school girls in the remote village of Chibok, along a road in Lagos May 12, 2014. The leader of the Nigerian Islamist rebel group Boko Haram has said he will release more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by his fighters last month in exchange for prisoners, according to a video seen by Agence France-Presse on Monday. | (Photo: Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

A Nigerian pastor and president of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria has said that Boko Haram has killed as many as 8,000 members of the congregations he oversees, destroyed 70 percent of his churches, and left most of the pastors under his care without a job.

"Seventy percent of our churches have been destroyed in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states by Boko Haram; over 8,000 of our members were killed; one hundred and seventy-six of the girls kidnapped in Chibok are our members," the Rev. Samuel Dali said, according to Naij.com.

While Dali kept up hopes that the Nigerian military will be able to finally defeat the terror group, which has waged war on the government and the country's Christians since 2009, he noted that many church facilities across Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states have been destroyed in various raids.

With the wide-spread destruction of churches and slaughter of church members, he added that most of the pastors under his care have lost their jobs.

Boko Haram's fighters have been struggling for control of towns with the Nigerian military in the northeast, and continue carrying out deadly acts of terror on villages where they slaughter dozens, sometimes hundreds of people, and kidnap women and children.

Last week Boko Haram slaughtered at least 150 people in a raid on the remote Kukuwa-Gari village in Nigeria's northeastern Yobe state.

"They opened fire instantly, which forced residents to flee. They shot a number of people. Unfortunately, many residents who tried to flee plunged into the river which is full from the rain. Many drowned," Modu Balumi, a village resident, told the AFP news agency.

"By our latest toll we have 150 people either shot dead or drowned in the attack. The gunmen deliberately killed a fisherman who tried to save drowning residents of the village," he added.

Nigerians have placed their hopes on President Muhammadu Buhari's promises that the jihadist group, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, will be defeated sooner rather than later.

Buhari has even selected December as a deadline for driving out Boko Haram.

"The end to Book Haram insurgency is also imminent. The president is working assiduously to achieve that soon just as he promised," said Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, according to Naija 247 News.

"The president has said the deadline to defeat Boko Haram is December this year. The president made a promise in July that Boko Haram would be defeated in 18 months, now he has changed it to December this year. He is the commander in chief and he has a wider view of the whole thing."

American President Barack Obama, who welcomed Buhari to the White House in a meeting in July, has pledged $5 million in funding to Nigeria's military to help it in the mission. Obama praised Buhari's integrity, and said that the Nigerian president has "a very clear agenda in defeating Boko Haram extremists of all sorts inside his country."

Persecution watchdog groups, such as Christian Solidarity Worldwide, have been urging world leaders to do more to stop Boko Haram, which it described as a "death cult."

"Despite its pseudo-religious pronouncements, with every atrocity Boko Haram illustrates it is no more than a death cult that indoctrinates members to kill without conscience, regardless of the creed espoused by its victims," CSW said in a statement in July.

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