September 19, 2015

Armed Attackers Kill 7 Adventists in Cameroon

, news editor, Adventist Review

Seven Seventh-day Adventist believers have been killed in a nighttime attack in northern Cameroon, marking the most serious loss of life that the church has sustained since Boko Haram militants embarked on a violent campaign to establish a strict Muslim state in Africa about five years ago.

Heavily armed men entered the village of Aïssa Harde, located 11 kilometers east of the regional capital, Mora, around 11 p.m. Thursday, breaking into homes and killing at least nine people, including the seven Adventists, said Richard Hendjena, head of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in northern Cameroon.

The unidentified attackers also burned down stores, causing significant material losses, Hendjena said Friday in a statement distributed by the Adventist Church’s West-Central Africa Division, which includes Cameroon.

Boko Haram, which has been waging conflict in the border area between Cameroon, Chad, and Nigeria, has not claimed responsibility for the Sept. 17 killings. But the raid follows the pattern of group, which began staging attacks in Cameroon partly in response to the country’s decision to join forces with its neighbors in opposing the militants.

Boko Haram has killed more than 400 people in Cameroon since last year and thousands more in other countries, according to human rights organizations. Among those slain were six Adventists who died in an attack on Maiduguri, capital of Nigeria’s Borno State, earlier this year, church leaders said.

Read “Prayers Sought After 6 Adventists Killed in Nigeria”

The village of Aïssa Harde was a ghost town on Friday after panicked families picked up their possessions and fled, Hendjena said.

“This is the first time that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has seen such a disaster by losing such a large number of members since Boko Haram began its abuses in the far north of Cameroon,” he said.

Additional details about the slain Adventists were not immediately available.

Hendjena appealed to Adventists worldwide to lift up the villagers in prayer.

“We beg you to think about these brethren in Aïssa Harde and in other locations in your prayers,” he said. “It’s not easy to live in such a climate of insecurity.”