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NIGERIA: Female Student Murdered, Body Burned by Classmates

Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu, a 25-year-old Christian student at the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Nigeria’s Sokoto State, was fatally stoned to death and her body burned on 12 May.

Deborah, who attends an ECWA church and resides with her parents in Sokoto, was beaten and then stoned to death by her classmates last Thursday after being falsely accused of blaspheming Islam’s prophet Mohammed.

Local media reported that Deborah had written in a class WhatsApp chat group that she passed her exams “thanks to Christ”. When pressured to retract her statement and apologise, Deborah declined.

Enraged by her response, Deborah’s classmates gathered around, beating her with sticks, throwing large stones, and shouting, “Allahu Akbar.” A video of Deborah being beaten went viral on local social media channels. The video shows her lying still on the ground with her bloody left arm attempting to cover her head, pleading with her classmates not to kill her.

After stoning Deborah to death, the students set her body on fire.

A student from the school who spoke with International Christian Concern said, “Muslim students and teachers don’t like Christians in the school.” The student told ICC that school authorities watched as the frenzied mob killed Deborah, but that they could not stop the Muslim students.

Two suspects have been arrested for the stoning to death of Deborah. Upset over the arrest, rioters attacked church buildings and looted and damaged Christian-owned shops on Saturday 14 May.

Local Muslims demanding the release of the two suspects assembled in strategic areas of the city and then marched to the palace of the sultan of Sokoto, leader of Nigeria’s Muslims, demanding the release of the two suspects, residents said. Sokoto resident Precious Arigu requested prayer: “So far, two churches and dozens of shops belonging to Christians have been looted and then destroyed,” Arigu told contacts. “Please be in prayers for those of us who are Christians living in Sokoto.”

A 24-hour curfew was declared in the city on Saturday.

  • Pray for peace and comfort over Deborah’s parents and church as they grieve her loss.

  • Pray for the students who were involved in the killing, that they will be convicted by the Holy Spirit and repent of their actions.

  • Pray for safety and courage over the Christians living in Sokoto who have been impacted by the riots. Pray that they may be strengthened and emboldened as they continue to suffer persecution for their faith in Jesus.

Source: International Christian Concern, Release International, VOM Australia

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