Thursday, May 12, 2011

Nigeria: Pastor’s Wife, 3 Children Killed in Attack

The Rikes: wife Dune, 13yo Sum (in back) died
Kurum, NIGERIA, West Africa As she lay on the ground after being shot and then slashed with a machete, Dune J. Rike looked into her husband’s tear-filled eyes and asked, “Is this the end between us, so we shall not be together again?”

Pastor James Musa Rike said he held the hands of his dying, 35-year-old wife and told her, “Hold on to your faith in Jesus, and we shall meet and never part again.”

In retaliation for the US killing of Osama bin-Laden, Muslims attacked Christians from three churches in Kurum village in Nigeria’s Bauchi state, at midnight May 4th, killing 16. Nearly all the killed were children, including three from the Rike family. The jihadists also stole money and valuables and burned 20 homes before leaving the village. 

Nigeria’s population of more than 158.2 million is almost evenly divided between Christians in the south and Muslims in the north.

A destroyed home in Kurum
As armed attackers entered Pastor Rike’s home and tried to force their way into their bedrooms, he said, “I opened a backdoor, and we ran out into the dark night while the militants pursued us. They shot my wife and two of our kids as they tried to escape,” killing Rike’s daughter Faith and 1-year-old son Fyali, and cutting his wife’s abdomen with a machete. 

"I was shocked at what I saw,” he said. “I knew my wife would not last long, and the only thing I did was to encourage her to hold on to her faith in Jesus.”

Rike, pastor of a 30-member Church of Christ congregation in Kurum, next heard the cries of his 13-year-old daughter, Sum, a few yards away. “I rushed to my daughter, only to discover that she too was cut with a machete on her stomach, and her intestines were all around her,” he said. “I held her hand and began to pray, knowing she too was about to die. 

Map locator of Nigeria.Image via Wikipedia
Bauchi State, Nigeria
She told me that the Muslim militants told her they would kill her and “see how your Jesus will save you.” The girl had responded by telling them that Jesus had already saved her, and by killing her they would only cause her to be with Him. Pastor Rike prayed with her as she died.

Pastor Rike and his son survived the attack unharmed, but his adopted daughter, Whulham, was hospitalized along with five other villagers. Three of those have since died, raising the death toll to 19

The attack has strengthened Pastor Rike’s faith in Jesus. “Whatever is the situation, I will never forsake Christ,” he said. “All human beings are created by God, and our attackers must know that they need to abandon anything that will lead them to destroy creations of God.”